You have accepted Jesus. Why? On invitation during an evangelistic campaign, upon the invitation of someone or a pastor? But do you know what it means to have Jesus accepted? Are you aware of the how and why? Are you aware of the consequences and what it means to be a Christian?
This Bible study is meant to explain what it means that you have accepted Jesus.
You have accepted Jesus. That means you believe that Jesus Christ died at the cross of Calvary for your sin. That you acknowledge that you are a sinner.
Let us start at the beginning with some basic explanation. When we speak of Jesus, we mean the Son of God, who left Divinity (being God) in Heaven and was born as a man. This is celebrated at Christmas. This happened a 2000 years ago. When we speak of Christ, we refer to the fact that Jesus, after His death at the cross, after three days rose from the dead. And then left the earth and returned to Heaven, where now He sits at the right hand of God His Father.
Why are you a sinner? In this Bible study I will only speak about male, but includes the female gender. Sin came into the world 6000 years ago, through Adam. I shall already provide the hyperlinks to more extensive studies, but I advise you to fully read first this study, then you can follow on the hyperlinks.
God created the present world a 6000 years ago. The Bible begins with this creation story in Genesis, with a savage and empty earth. Firstly, the first man Adam was created in God's image, then the first woman Eve. They lived in a beautiful garden, called Paradise, with many animals, cattle, birds and many fruit trees. They were allowed to eat from all fruit trees, EXCEPT ONE. God wanted to test them, if they were grateful for these free gifts. God also warned, if they ate from the forbidden fruit tree, then death followed.
However, God had a number of enemies, created angels who did not wish to live under God's rules, with as captain and head: satan. That is why he spoke to the woman and seduced the woman with half-lies. Unfortunately the woman kicked in, and ate the fruit of the forbidden fruit tree. Then she took the forbidden fruit and went to her husband and offered the forbidden fruit to her husband. Now the man had the free choice, without any deception of half-lies, to eat or not. Or to choose for his wife, or to choose obedience to God. Abram consciously chose wrong and ate the forbidden fruit. Thus, through Adam, who had consciously chosen, sin came into the world.
In the evening, God came to visit the people Adam and Eve, for He was used to speaking with them. But Adam and Eve were now aware of their nakedness and out of fear, they hide from God. To cover their nakedness, they had made clothing from leaves (Genesis 3:7). God had warned them of the consequences. God first made a covering of animal skin. An animal was slaughtered for this, for without bloodshed, no forgiveness is possible (Hebrews 9:22). This sacrifice of an animal, which would be a practice for 4000 years, as forgiveness of sin. After this, the perfect sacrifice was brought by Jesus. This sacrifice is final and Unique.
After this sacrifice, Adam and Eve were removed from Paradise, and the separation between God and the first humans took place. God CANNOT communicate with a sinful man. Their minds to communication with God were taken away from them. The first sign of the promised consequence: death. Afterwards, their bodies would also die and return to dust.
Sin thus means: DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD. Sin separates man from God. Man cannot communicate with God because of sin.
The young believer should grow from the milk (like a newborn baby grows from mother's milk to milk) to solid food (Hebrews 5:12). Growth takes time, mental growth takes time. One can have a heavier sinful life than other person. Every person is an individual. But we shall go through some general steps.
Step 1. When we speak of a very sinful life, liberation is necessary by a competent pastor or an adult in faith. What are we talking about? Someone who has accepted Jesus Christ and has a heavy past. That is, once committed abortion, theft, murder, adultery. Involved in spiritualism, yoga, worship of demons, voodoo, etc. This must be acknowledged as sin and told to Jesus Christ and asked for deliverance from satan and demons. These are just a few of the many who bind to satan, that is to say, hinder spiritual growth, Bible reading and prayer.
Step 2. The start is to know the Will of God. We learn this by reading the Bible. Read the first four chapters of Genesis to know what sin is. Then continue to read Matthew, the gospel. Use that Bible study when reading so that it becomes clearer. Remember that the Bible is God's Word. Therefore, it is necessary to ask the Holy Spirit to help in reading the Bible and to explain. With the Fall (the sin of Adam), the mind which was able to communicate with God was taken away. With your acceptance of Jesus, you received the Holy Spirit, which enables you to communicate with God through Bible reading and prayer. Reading daily the Bible is a necessity for your spiritual growth. Satan hates Christians who read the Bible (using the Holy Spirit). That is why you have to arm yourself against satan and demons through Bible knowledge.
Step 3. Go through your life, which sins stand in the way of your spiritual growth. You do this through serious prayer. Pray daily. Get on your knees (that is bowing to God, who is Holy and Almighty, far above sinful man). Confess your sins which you have done that day. You learn about sin by reading the Bible. Ask God that the Holy Spirit gives you the force to overcome from doing that sin again. That is not one, two, three. A baby learns to walk by falling and standing up again. One sin will be easier to overcome than the other. Do not be discouraged. Satan and demons will attack you with: You see, you keep on sinning. Look at the lust and wealth in the world that is much better than your Christian life. Do not be fooled, as Eve was deceived in Paradise. The end of the unbeliever is NOT eternal life in Heaven.
Step 4 Visit the church weekly. Go to different churches. See which church you are best built up. Is there real worship from God? Is there a biblical Sermoning, is the Word of God being brought to truth? How is their praying? Is a cup of coffee offered after the service? Are people coming to YOU and are they starting a conversation? Do they pay attention to you? If you have children, are there children's services? If the church services are limited to Sunday, forget that church. The church must be active during the week with Bible studies, prayer meetings and home visits. Are there elders and deacons?
Find a church where you feel at home, people pay attention to you, where you grow in your faith.
Step 5 After you have gained some knowledge of the Bible, join a Bible study group for people who have just come to faith. Usually they meet once a week or once every two weeks. It is important not to stand alone in the Christian faith, but to grow in knowledge. You need to know what the Christian life is about. Leaving your sinful life and living in the world, moving onto a life under the control of the Holy Spirit. That is a growing process, which does not go from one day to the next, but lasts for years. Yes, in fact until the Rapture of the Church. We will discuss this topic later on this page.
Step 6 After you accept Jesus Christ, you are BORN AGAIN. The Bible says that every man is born separated from God because of sin. By your acceptation of Jesus Christ, the separation from God comes to an end, and you die from your sinful nature and you are BORN AGAIN. You have become a child of God.
However, children can honour their parents by living obediently or by living in rebellious and disobedient lives. So also the children of God. They can live in obedience by living God's honour and Will, under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. OR continue with the sinful life in the world, just doing their own will and seek their own pleasure. The choice you make, each one has its own consequences.
Step 7 Now that you have acknowledged that Jesus Christ died for your sin at the cross of Calvary, you may take part in the Holy Supper. This has Jesus initiated in Matthew 26:26-29.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
This is a remembrance (Holy Supper) that Jesus gave His life for your sin. Breaking bread symbolizes that Jesus' Body is broken at the Cross. He took the cup, it is assumed that this was a cup of wine. Given that there may be ex-addicts in the church, we use grape juice at the Holy Supper. The "wine" symbolizes the blood that came out of the wound when the soldier pierced his side with a spear (John 19:32-34) after Jesus died. Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Jesus died for the sin of man. BUT man has to believe and accept Jesus. If man rejects this offer from God the Father, the penalty for sin remains upon that person.
In the church, you see that babies and children take part in the Holy Supper. Is that allowed? Yes and no. Babies and children of believing parents may take part in the bread and the cup, not from unbelieving parents. Why? On the basis of 1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy.
The children of believers in Jesus Christ are sanctified by their parents. On this basis, the believing parent may give the holy supper to the baby and a child may freely participate in the sacrament. If the child rejects Jesus Christ, the parents must not force the child to participate.
Step 8 After one has become aware of sin and has accepted Jesus, one may be baptized. Matthew 3:6 And they were baptized by him (John the Baptist) in the river Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS. Here we see the condition: Confession of sin.
Why in the river? Because water flows inside the river. The flowing water washes away the sin.
Step 9 After reading the New Testament, it is time to read the entire Bible, including the Old Testament. You shall read three chapters (about three pages) a day, so that you read EVERY year the complete Bible.
Step 10 To better understand the Bible, Bible commentaries are useful. You can buy these in the evangelical bookshops. There are Bible commentaries about the entire Old Testament and the entire New Testament. But also per individual Bible book. There is also a lot of comment on the internet, but be careful with this. The writer can clearly state his or her personal opinion. This can be false or truthful. Let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit in your search on the internet and in the purchase of comments. In the evangelical bookstore, take your time, do not rely only on the advice of the seller. Take a long time, read the comments in the store. Take 10-20 minutes for this, or 30 minutes for an entire Testament. You have that right, it is your investment in eternal life in Heaven. Do not be guided by the price. A mobile and its subscription costs many times more, than a comment. You have only a few years of pleasure from a mobile phone. The Bible commentary is a reference work and an investment in eternity!
Baptism in the Jordan River near Qasr al-Yahud, located near the desert, the most likely place where Jesus was baptized. Today, the Jordaan is narrow due to the water extraction for irrigation. As a result, the level of the Dead Sea is also falling.
And they were baptized by him (John the Baptist) in the river Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS.
Only an adult person (some children aged 8 years and older may already be aware of their sins and necessity of Jesus Christ as Saviour) can be baptized.
That means that a baby cannot be baptized? That is correct, but the believing parents may dedicate their baby to Jesus Christ. They are able to educate the baby and their child in the Christian faith, to make the child aware of sin and to lead to Jesus Christ as Saviour.
A baby of whom both parents are unbelieving cannot be dedicated because none of the parents is capable of raising the baby in the Christian faith. Neither of them have sin awareness and see no need to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour.
Living in the world means that you go your own way and do not submit yourself to the Will of God, put God's laws aside, you go your own way and live no life under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Living in the world in extremity means drugs, drinking, smoking, free sex, prostitution, wild parties, violence, theft, murder and so on. But also tattoo and piercing, reading of horoscopes, occultism, yoga, worship of saints and images.
Living in the world means everything that God has forbidden. How do we know what God has forbidden? By reading the entire Bible. We find this among the others in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) below a short summary:
- Worship no other gods besides Me.
- Do not make images of gods, not a single image of something that is up here in heaven or anything down on the earth or in the water under the earth. Do not kneel down for such images, do not revere them, for I, the LORD your God, do not tolerate other gods besides me.
- Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God.
- Keep the Sabbath alive, it is a holy day. For six days you can work and do all your work, but the seventh day is a rest day dedicated to the LORD your God; then you may not work.
- Show and have respect for your father and your mother.
- Do not commit murder.
- Do not commit adultery.
- Do not steal.
- Do not give false testimony about another person.
- Do not put your senses on another's house, nor on his wife, his slave, his maid, his ox or his donkey, or whatever it belongs to another person.
Exodus 22:18-19 You shall not permit a sorceress to live. Whoever lies with a beast shall be put to death.
Leviticus 19:28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh or any tattoo.
Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.
Leviticus 20:18 If a man lies with a woman having her sickness, and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood; both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
But that is the Old Testament, these laws are given to the Jewish people and do not apply to the Christian. That is a general wrong idea. Jesus is very clear in Matthew 5:17-18:
Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
The Christian can give God the Father a daily pleasure by submitting to the laws that God the Father has instituted. But you will say that is an impossibility. The Jews and Israelites were unable to maintain the laws. That is precisely why Jesus came to earth, died for sin and returned to Heaven after His resurrection from Death. Why? So that the Holy Spirit makes indwelling in the born-again Christian. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and is THE POWER not to sin and to live according to God's Will. That is life under the control of the Holy Spirit. Here is more about what is life in the world:
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity (free sex), licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit (injustice), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Another example is the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-24
And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honour your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbour as yourself." The young man said to him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
The rich young man loved his wealth more than following Jesus. He was willing to live up to God's honour and to keep God's laws. However, the command to love your neighbour as yourself could not yield him. He was not willing to share his wealth with the poor. And to follow Jesus Who did not have a permanent residence and had no home of his own.
Others share their wealth, but continue to live in the world of sex, drinks and drugs. There is no question of a holy life and the disbelievers speak shame about them, is that now a Christian? Others give up to 98% of their wealth to Africa, evangelism and mission. Thinking of being able to buy their access to Heaven. Or what is the source of their wealth, obtained from over-pricing of their products (to pay their tithe)?
Does this mean that the Christian may not own a house? In many countries the rent of a house is equal or higher than the mortgage. A rental property has the advantage that it is easy to change home or city and the maintenance is for the account of the owner. Buying a house gives the burden of maintenance and one is bound to the place of residence, but free of mortgage after a number of years. If one is not self-sufficient to carry out the maintenance on the house itself, the hourly wages of a professional are very high and expensive.
God has given man a good sense with which he or she can make the right assessment. God wants us to look after our fellow man. From wealth one can employ employees, support mission and evangelism, distribute Bibles and food for free, etc. Everyone consults the Lord God, which is Jesus' Will for your personal life.
Another example of people living in the world. People finds a Bible expensive, but the Bible is THE WORD OF GOD, it gives many useful lessons about how man functions and lessons for live. It is the best sociological book. Compare the price of the Bible with the price of a book with the same number of pages written by a person. The price of a Bible is much less expensive. The Bible gives access to eternal life, has value for eternity and is not limited to the short earthly life.
People pay a high entrance fee for twice 45 minutes of football on Sunday. While some football players earn millions. Some pay ten thousand Euros to go to the world championships. But they do not invest anything in a Bible and commentaries that is too expensive. An hour and a half of football with emotions may cost everything, but what is of eternal value (living in Heaven with its wealth of health and pleasure forever) should cost nothing. Strangely, is not it?
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
It is God's Will that every Christian lives under the control of the Holy Spirit and live an holy life.
TEMPORARY the Church (all believers in Jesus Christ) has taken the place of the Jewish people. With this, the assignment to the Jewish people to be a WITNESS of God and to lead a holy life has been transferred to each individual Christian. Every Christian is a royal priest. After the rapture of the Church, this mission returns to the Jewish people and God continues with the Jewish people.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him.
That brings with it great obligations: to live holy and to proclaim the Gospel. Does the believer NOT do this, that has great consequences for him or her, more about that later.
The believer is bought and paid for with the precious blood and death of Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary for the purpose
Ephesians 5:27 that He might present the church to Himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
This is done after the Church is lifted up into Heaven and the Church is presented to God the Father. That is why it is necessary for the newly come to faith man starts his or her life under the control of the Holy Spirit. In order to grow to without a spot or wrinkle or something like that, that is, a life without sin. Ho, but that is impossible. Yes and No.
Yes, because the Holy Spirit is THE Power to live without sin. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, and as long as the believer does not grieve the Holy Spirit or extinguish it, He will continue to convince. The believer must confess sin every moment that he or she sins and then is free from sin. Confessing sin clears the believer from sin (Micha 7:19).
No, man is and remains in a sinful body until after the taking up into Heaven. Paul says it clearly in Romans 7:13-25
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
If the believer prefers not to listen to the Holy Spirit, and worse to endure in sin, then one grieves the Spirit and finally the operation of the Spirit is extinguished. See the lesson of the five foolish and five wise virgins in Matthew 25. The five foolish virgins did not persist a holy life, they did not carry sufficient oil (the symbol of the Holy Spirit) with them. Their lamps went out, that is they did not live a holy life and extinguished the Holy Spirit. The five wise virgins took oil and had sufficient until the Bridegroom came. That is, from their assumption of Jesus Christ as Saviour until their death (the death of the believer) or until the Rapture of the Church. They lived under the control of the Holy Spirit a spotless and impeccable life under constant confession of sin. But the confession of sin is only a part.
The Jewish people failed to be a witness of their God in word and deed. God clearly gave His blessing and His curse to the Jewish people in Leviticus 26. Since the people did not keep God's commandments and began serving idols, the wrath of God was kindled. And the Jewish people swept under the curse and were expelled by God from the Promised Land and went into captivity to Babylon. God does NOT let be MOCKED of Himself. The believer is called to a holy life, the believer who does not do this, he or she will undergo the consequences. The five foolish virgins were NOT given access to the wedding (of the Bridegroom Jesus Christ), the door was closed to them, that is, no access to Heaven. Let this be a serious lesson. If we take the number of five seriously, that is half of the ten. Whether this really means that only 50% of all believers in Jesus Christ go to Heaven at the Rapture of the Church. And 50% of believers stay behind on earth and their faith is going to be tested in the Great Tribulation, let us hope not. But this number does not surprise me, looking at the few believers that lead a life under the control of the Holy Spirit. Going to church, giving tithing, reading Bible, etc. is not enough. God desires that you, as a believer, change in your style of living, live an impeccable and immaculate life. That unbelievers see Jesus Christ in you, the changes in your way of life, a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The practical testimony of the believer is found in Matthew 25: 31-46. To give tithes to pay for the church building, the pastor's salary, the cleaning of the church building, the musical instruments, the Sunday school material and the evangelization. To give offerings for the salaries of missionaries and their necessities, special actions (evangelism campaign, Christmas, Easter, etc.). Handing out of free Bibles in prisons, to children at the Sunday school, evangelism campaign. Visits to prisoners and sick people in hospitals. Distribution of food and clothing in the third world countries. Support to organization such as the BEM. Support to Israel.
But prayer is also very important. For satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Pastors, elders, deacons, missionaries, social workers, our governments and judges, our families, family and school education all need our prayer in the fight against satan and demons. And let us not forget the children who are sexually and violently abused (think of pedophilia and incest). For the persecuted ones in the (Muslim) countries.
But the believer in Jesus Christ is free of judgment?
I believe that this is a serious misconception. The story of the five foolish virgins is a serious warning, as is Matthew 25. Also 1 Corinthians 3:10-18 describes the judgment of the believer.
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- 13 each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.
The Bible here clearly states that the believer will have to render account to the Lord Jesus Christ about his or her (sinful) life on earth. The problem here is whether the believer can lose his or her eternal life in Heaven or not. After all, the believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit as guarantee of your inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). The lesson of the five foolish virgins and Matthew 7:21-23 indicates that it is possible that access to Heaven is denied. So let believers take their spiritual life seriously and live under the control of the Spirit. And build on THE foundation, 1 Cor. 3:11-15. A house is built on a foundation otherwise it collapses. Our foundation is Jesus Christ Who died for our sins and has risen from the dead. The believer must build with gold, silver and precious stones. That means to be actively engaged in the Kingdom of God. Wood, hay and straw burn in fire and are destroyed. An image of the believer who does live under the control of the Spirit, but is not actively engaged in the Kingdom of God.
Life under the control of the Holy Spirit is a human interaction. It is the will of the believer himself or herself, who consciously chooses to read the Bible daily, to pray daily and to have the Holy Spirit work in him or her every minute of the day. When I had just come to faith and knew more about the Christian life, a few years later there was a "zero" tolerance of the Holy Spirit. Or I confessed my sin or if I persisted, then the hand of the Holy Spirit was heavy on me in the form of illness. That took years because time after time there were other areas in which I had to change. Now the good has become a second nature to me. And the Holy Spirit is more tolerant, but there are still many areas in which I have to change, with continual confession of sin. When one thinks to be complete, the Spirit shows a new area in which the believer has to change. This is a process to the death of the believer or to the Rapture of the Church. For the purpose of presenting the Church without spot or wrinkle before God the Father.
In one, the change happens all of a sudden and forever after the acception of Jesus Christ. Many are the testimonies of alcoholics and drug addicts who were immediately are released after their assumption of Jesus. But in others it is a permanent weakness. Why this difference? Unfortunately, I cannot explain it. I do not wish to point out an accusing finger with "But God sees the heart". One thing is certain, when the believer discovers a weakness and stumbles continuously, the believer may pray that the Holy Spirit helps and removes it. Confession of guilt and prayer is human interaction. It is a deliberate wish to change.
1 Corinthians 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
Apostles were the twelve apostles (being the 12 disciples minus the traitor Judas, in his place came the apostle Paul).
ALL PERSONALLY taught by Jesus Christ. Paul by Jesus, Galatians 1:13 and 18. That is why there are no more APOSTLES after this, even today.
Today the highest gift is prophecy and the lowest gift is speaking in tongues.
Many boast of their spiritual life because of a gift of the Holy Spirit. To speak in tongues and to prophesy would be a proof of their good spiritual life. These believers deceive themselves. Unfortunately, we know about the pastors who STEAL tithe and offerings so that they can buy a luxury home and/or luxury car for themselves. To shame which the disbelievers speak about them. Let the Bible speak clearly in Matthew 7:21-23
"Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'
The Bible book of Jeremiah is full of false prophets who prophesy and speak in the Name of God, while God clearly says that He did not give those words to them. So how do we recognize a believer who prophesies with the words of God? When ALL their spoken prophecies that this prophet utters are COMPLETELY fulfilled. NOT a NUMBER, NOT a PART, BUT ALL. Believers who receive a false prophecy are disappointed and some even so much that they fall away from faith. Let that false prophet be aware that his or her actions have consequences and they have to answer to God. Yes, that as in Matthew 7:21-23 the access to Heaven is denied.
The voice of God sometimes speaks in me, but I am too often deceived. If it is confirmed, then I know it was from God. But unfortunately I have no means to test. Only when it goes directly against God's Word (which is almost never the case, remember that the devil presents himself as an angel of light), then I know that it is not of God. Sometimes my actions are automatic and unconscious. I see a need and foresee. But sometimes the voice says NO or WAIT. Why? Because God has something better in mind or at a later time. It is the Spirit Who must lead and direct.
A believer, who is proud of his or her gift, be on your guard for him or her. The believer has NOTHING to boast. It is a SPIRITUAL interaction. It is the Spirit that distributes (1 Corinthians 12:11). It is NOT proof of spiritual life and life under the control of the Spirit. Unfortunately, there are pastors, elders and believers with spiritual gifts, while openly or secretly their spiritual life is a shame of adultery, theft, etc. The control of the Spirit is visible through the expression of Galatians 5:22 and confirmed by outsiders. Personally, I discovered my spiritual gift because a believer made me aware of it. There is nothing to boast, because it is a gift and the POWER and WORK of the Holy Spirit. It is not the work and knowledge of the believer, but that of the Holy Spirit. So the believer has nothing to boast about.
But 1 Corinthians 12 speaks that the believer may pray for a gift. Yes, certainly, but that gift(s) for which one prays should not be for your own credit. It must be for your service in God's Kingdom and for the glorification of God. That is the condition. But you see that sinful believers have (many) spiritual gifts. How about that? Well you will see that these gifts are used in Sermoning and evangelism in the service of God's Kingdom. But their personal accountability is in Matthew 7:21-23 and Hebrews 13:17: They will have to give account to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit has a plan for each of us. One person is able to grow quickly, while another has slow in the growth process. But the goal for every believer is to grow from the milk (mother's milk for the baby) to the solid food, to adulthood and sons of God, Hebrews 5:11-14;
About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
Ezekiel 18:5-32 5 "If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right-- 6 if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife or approach a woman in her time of impurity, 7 does not oppress any one, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8 does not lend at interest or take any increase, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between man and man, 9 walks in my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances--he is righteous, he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD. 10 "If he begets a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, 11 who does none of these duties, but eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor's wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 lends at interest, and takes increase; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominable things; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. 14 "But if this man begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and fears, and does not do likewise, 15 who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife, 16 does not wrong any one, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or increase, observes my ordinances, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father's iniquity; he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity. 19 "Yet you say, 'Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?' When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20 The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. 21 "But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness which he has done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24 But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does the same abominable things that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, he shall die. 25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity which he has committed he shall die. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of any one, says the Lord GOD; so turn, and live."
God has no pleasure that a man dies because of his/her sins and is eternally separated from Him. God desires our sanctification, the sanctification of every individual believer. It makes no sense first to lead a righteous life and then fall back to live in the world. The five foolish virgins had no oil for their lamps until the end: the arrival of the Bridegroom and lost their access to the wedding. The above from Ezekiel 18:5-32 is clear enough.
What sanctification means, among other things, is described in sanctification.
The sanctification of the believer is necessary for a life under the control of the Holy Spirit. God desires the believer to submit to the laws of their country, government and judges (provided that they do not go against God), Romans 13: 1-7. Pay your taxes, see Matthew 17: 24-27 and 22: 15-21. This involves all laws, also the traffic rules. Do not drive through a red traffic light, maintain the maximum allowed velocity, do not overtake on the right, give way to pedestrians. Stop for zebra crossing. And not only when people see you, the fallen angels see your driving style when no one else sees you. They accuse you to God! They see your behaviour in secret and accuse you before God, see Job 1:6-10. The testimony of the believer is not only for the unbelievers, but also against satan and the fallen angels.
The sanctification starts on the first minute that you accept Jesus Christ until your death or perhaps you are still alive at the Rapture of the Church. Marriage is a good example. The marriage starts from the moment you have given your YES and lasts until death. A Christian marriage normally lasts until death separates.
How good a marriage is, that depends on the love shown to each other in marriage and the faithfulness. If you only see each other every Sunday, you cannot expect much from your marriage. Likewise the believer who only goes to church on Sunday, or worse only at Easter and Christmas. If communication with each other is a few days a week, it is a moderate marriage. Likewise, when the Bible is hardly read, and only prayed in emergency.
In a good marriage DAILY love is shown, embracement, and spoken to each other. Life under the control of the Holy Spirit means a DAILY communication. You read the Bible, God speaks to you. You pray, you speak to God. Your conduct, keeping God's commandments (faithful to the marriage promises), your confession of sin, is your embrace of God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Life under the control of the Spirit is a daily choice, every minute of the day, to want to live holy to the glory of God. At the beginning of the Christian life, this is accompanied by a lot of falling and ceasing, as with a child who learns to walk. But after exercise, the baby walks independently. The more you as a believer put yourself under control of the Spirit, the less you fall. But it will last until the end, time after time you will learn something new, such as a student at school or the student at the university. Life is a life lesson. Time and time again you will have to learn something new to master. But through the power of the Spirit you will become master. As the teacher or professor teaches you, the Holy Spirit teaches you. But you learn nothing if you do not wish to learn and do not wish to study. If you wish to continue to live in the world, you reject the Spirit of God. You must live free of sin, in order that your marriage (Jesus is the Bridegroom, the Church is the Bride) work. Ie to have a LIVELY and DAILY relationship with God, only then will you experience the power of God's Spirit.
The High Priest in the Old Testament was allowed to come to the Holy of Holies only once a year after he had confessed all sins of himself and of the people. And he had brought the required sin offerings. Our one singular sin offering of the Lord Jesus Christ was and is sufficient. He died for our sin at the cross of Calvary. At His death, the veil tore from Above (God's work) and not from below (not a man who tore the veil from below) Matthew 27:51.
This means that access to the Holy of Holies is open forever, that is, for ALWAYS open is the access of the believer to God the Father (who lived in the ark with the cherubs) through the shed blood of Jesus. However, the condition is, being free of sin. The High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies only after confession of sin, AFTER being free from sin. The believing Christian has free access to God the Father, provided he or she is free from sin, that is after confession and forgiveness of sin.
This is in short a step by step in the Christian faith. You may now re-read these steps using the links. If you have questions, take the liberty to contact the EZBB, we are there for you.
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. MAY YOUR GROW AND EXPERIENCE THE CONTROL AND POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN YOUR LIFE