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July 5, 2016, 12:00 AM

Part 4-Are we saved at Repentance?

The following is Part 4 of the Repentance/Forgiveness Bible study.  Are we saved at repentance?

Jesus had the ability to forgive sins while He was on earth as evidence when we read Mark 2: 1-12.  So what was the purpose of his death and resurrection?

In Romans 8: 11 it states, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”    This quickening is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that John spoke of and the born again experience that Jesus spoke of to Nicodemus.  The word used in the scripture is Sanctify.

We also read in Hebrews 13: 11-12, “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”  From this scripture alone we can conclude that Jesus died to sanctify us!

Romans 16: 16 states, “ That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”  

The experience of Saul who later became the Apostle Paul is documented in Acts, where he is converted and then is filled with the Holy Ghost.  We read of his conversion in Acts 9, "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."

"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

"And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man." And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink."

"And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight."

"Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:  And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."

"And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.  And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Recorded later in Acts, the Apostle Paul gives another recount of his experience before king Agrippa.  Acts 26: 17-18 states, "Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

Hebrews leaves on record the fulfillment of the Prophecy of the New Covenant, which is found through the sanctified experience.  In Hebrews 10: 14-17 we read, "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.  Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."

June 27, 2016, 12:00 AM

Part 3-What does it mean to be Converted?

The following is Part 3 of the Repentance/Forgiveness Bible study recently hosted.  What does it mean to be converted?  Conversion occurs when a person truly decides to serve the Lord and asks Jesus Christ for forgiveness.  Once a person is forgiven, they are converted and ready to receive the Holy Spirt which is the “born again” experience.  Conversion is the first step in our approach to God. It is being converted from the old sinful way of life to a brand new life serving the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines converted as, "turned or changed from one substance or state to another; turned from one religion or sect to another; changed from a state of sin to a state of holiness; applied to a particular use; appropriated." 

Matthew 18: 2-4 states, “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” 

In Mark 4:12 we read, “That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven of them.” 

Luke 22: 31-32 states, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”  Jesus spoke to one of his disciples about what Satan had planned for him before his conversion. Jesus was concerned for his disciple and offered up a prayer for him until he was converted. 

The primary evangelist of the New Testament, Paul, had a very miraculous conversion. In Acts Chapter 9, we read that Saul (Paul's name before his experience) was a religious zealot who was threatening the lives of the new Christians. While on the road to Damascus to bring Christians into custody, he was struck blind by God. God spoke to Saul in the 4th verse "...Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Saul immediately knew that God was speaking to him and in the 6th verse says "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me do?" God sent a gentlemen named Ananias to pray with Saul. 

God can use extreme measures to get our attention and persuade us to convert to a life of holiness built on Jesus Christ. We need to obey his call and allow our lives to become a holy vessel ready for the God’s use.

Join us next week as "Are we saved at Repentance?" is discussed.

June 21, 2016, 12:00 AM

Part 2-Is Repentance necessary for our approach to God?

The following is Part 2 of the Repentance/Forgiveness Bible study recently hosted. Is Repentance/Forgiveness necessary for our approach to God? Yes, it is the first step in our approach to God. The scripture is very plain from the Old Testament to the New Testament that God's desires for us to have a personal relationship with Him. Because of Adam's transgression, man is born with the nature of sin, but God designed a way to be able to approach him. Repentance/Forgiveness is the first step towards God. 

In the Old Testament, when the priests came to the temple, they had to wash their hands and clean up to approach God. It is that way for us today....we must be forgiven of our sins. Our heart must be cleaned from the sins we have committed before we can have a true relationship with God. II Chronicles 7:14 states, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 

In Ezekiel 18: 30-31 we read, "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" 

Matthew 4: 12-17 states, Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 

Jesus states in Luke 13:5, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Man must repent of his sins or he will spiritually die. The physical body returns to the dust of the earth, but the spiritual body (soul) lives on. 

In Acts 3: 19-20 we read, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:" 

1 John 1: 8-10 states, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." Man is born with the sin nature, but God has provided a way of escape from sin. 

Join us next as "What does converted mean?" is discussed.

June 12, 2016, 3:44 PM

Part 1-Repentance/Forgiveness

The following is Part 1 of the Repenatnce/Forgiveness Bible study recently hosted.

The Gospel is simple.  It is founded on the simple truth written by God in His word that all men are born with the nature of Sin inherited from Adam’s transgression.  Because of this, the relationship between God and man was broken.  To repair this relationship, God sent his own Son to earth to redeem all men.  Matthew 1:21 states, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

The Bible also states in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”   Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”   Ephesians 2:3, “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Good news!  Because of man’s sinful state, God sent His only Son to be our Savior.  Through Christ, we can have complete salvation.  Jesus explained his gospel in very simple terms found in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

So how do we as sinful men and women approach a Holy God, obtain salvation, and secure everlasting life?  We must believe in him, which includes his teachings and purpose.  John the Baptist was a special prophet who understood completely who Christ was and his purpose.  We know he was Jesus’ cousin and his birth was also a miracle.  We don’t know anything about his childhood, but we do know he came out of the wilderness as an adult preaching “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.  These events preceded Jesus’ ministry.  Malachi 3:1 states, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”  The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John mention John the Baptist’s message of repentance.

This week in your personal study, take the time to read Matthew 3: 1-17.   Come back next week as is repentance/forgiveness necessary for our approach to God is discussed.

June 7, 2016, 4:41 PM

Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold."  Proverbs 22:1

This scripture reminds us that the things of this life that have true value can't be held in our hands. Also remember this week to be careful and diligent as you carry the name of Christ.

Have a great week!

Bro. Mike Merritt

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