The Bible is the only solid point of reference in the world of humankind. Since the Bible is so important to us, it must be the starting point of any legitimate doctrinal study. The other doctrinal truths that we will examine are built on the foundation of the Scriptures. In this unit on basic doctrine, we will begin with the Scriptures and establish the truth that the Scriptures are God’s Word to us. We will show why we believe in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures. The Bible is the most important book in history. No other book in the history of humankind has had such a revolutionary influence, has so decisively affected the development of the Western world, or has had such a worldwide effect. Clearly, the Bible is different from all other books. Whereas all other books are written by humans to humans, the Bible is from God to humankind. We believe the Bible is the Word of the living God. In this chapter, we will examine how we got the Scriptures, why we believe they are from God, and why we believe they are the true authority for our lives.
Many people around the world worship a number of different gods. One thing that separates Christianity from most other belief systems is our belief that there is only one God who is over all creation. However, it is not enough to simply believe that God is; Christians must also have a clear understanding of what God is like. To truly trust God, we need an accurate understanding of His character. In this chapter, we will attempt to learn something of what God is like. We know that is an impossible task since we cannot know or understand everything about God. If we could, He would not be God. However, God has revealed something of Himself, and what He has revealed is true. We will focus on God’s partial yet awe inspiring revelation of himself.
The most important person who ever walked on the face of this earth is Jesus. His birth is so important that it has split history into two parts and serves as the basis for the calendar most of us use to this day. History tells us that Jesus was a first-century Jew who lived in Israel during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. No one of serious academic achievement would truly deny that Jesus lived. The question they ask is, “Who was He?” The identity of Jesus provides the dividing point between Christianity and all other religions. Many are willing to give Him some honor, teaching that He was a prophet or a great man. However, Christians teach that Jesus was more than a man. He is God. This chapter will examine what the Bible teaches about Jesus. First, we will look at the person of Jesus and show that He is both God and man. Second, we will look at the work Jesus came to do. Finally, we will examine five commonly misunderstood phrases about Jesus.
In the the fall of Humanity Adam’s sin is the key event. To clearly understand the cause and significance of Adam’s sin, we will examine other events that contributed to Adam’s fall. We will study the source of sin, the creation of humanity, and the way in which sin blocks God’s purpose for all people. The study of sin is important because sin has serious consequences. Sin does not just affect humankind; it affects all of creation. Because even the smallest sin brings eternal judgment, it is imperative for us to find a solution. The only solution to sin is the death of Jesus on the cross.
Throughout history, people have tried to address the problem of spiritual death by using education, government, religion, and other means to give the appearance of life when they are actually dead inside. No earthly power can restore life to that which is dead . We need a source of salvation. Salvation means “deliverance or rescue from danger.” God has provided a way to save us from sin, deliver us from death, and restore life. In this chapter we will look at God’s provision for salvation, the benefits of salvation, and the road to salvation.
Jesus instituted the ordinance of communion on the night He was betrayed. The Lord’s Supper, consists of two elements: bread and the fruit of the vine. They are symbols to express our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord’s Supper it is to be observed by all believers “until He comes.” Communion commemorates; the past, present, and future. We observe this ordinance often, as a reminder of our daily need for Christ.
Before Jesus returned to heaven, He told His followers about the Holy Spirit and commanded them to wait in Jerusalem for “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). He promised that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), receiving power to be witnesses (Acts 1:8). Jesus knew that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was essential for the believers. The first Christians obeyed Jesus’ command and waited in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). We believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is essential for us to be effective witnesses for Christ. This chapter will provide a biblical foundation for Pentecostal teaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit—basic truths about the baptism, the evidence of the baptism, and how to receive the baptism.
We believe the initial physical evidence of the baptism is speaking in tongues for two main reasons. First, the book of Acts records five cases where people were baptized in the Holy Spirit for the first time. Those cases, which are described, point to tongues as the initial physical evidence. Second, Acts clearly states that the early church leaders recognized tongues as the initial evidence on at least one occasion: at the home of Cornelius.
There is no specific “formula” for receiving the baptism in the Spirit. Each person receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit in a different way. God knows and uses our uniqueness when distributing His gifts. However, there are guidelines to help make it easier for a person to receive the Spirit’s filling.
Sacred Scripture teaches that God is holy and that He requires His people to be holy. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). Peter confirms this challenge by saying, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15–16). The doctrine of sanctification shows how God fulfills His plan for His followers to be holy.
Tonight we continue chapter 8 by looking at the process of sanctification
Many Christians view the church as the remnant of God’s faithful servants, surrounded by the enemy and trying to hold on till Jesus comes. Jesus conveys a much different picture of the church—as an army on the offensive. No strategy of the enemy can defend against the church when the Spirit of God has empowered it. The book of Acts tells us that the church was birthed in the power of the Holy Spirit. It describes the early church as a powerful force, with the first Christians taking the gospel to every part of the known world. In fact, Acts does not have a clear ending because the church’s mission is not yet finished. In a sense, we are helping to finish it. To do so, we need to understand (1) what Jesus meant by the word church and (2) what the church’s mission is.
The Church of Jesus Christ was formed with a mission. If the church forgets it mission, it loses its value and fails to accomplish God’s intended purpose. The church’s greatest value is found in the Holy Spirit empowered ministry. The Holy Spirit helps the church to fulfill its mission through four principles. Each activity the church engages in should connect to a least one of the fours task that we discuss in this lesson.
God calls every believer to some type of ministry. A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the fourfold purpose of the leading the church that we discussed in our last chapter. Ministry is the focus of this chapter. In this lesson, we will examine (1) the call to ministry, (2) the relationship between the ministry and the church, and (3) the main objectives of ministry. Our desire is that each person who reads this book will receive the full reward our Lord has prepared for His faithful servants.
In every part of the world, most of us have heard testimonies of—and perhaps seen or experienced—divine healing. Healing did not end with the apostles. In every century, people have believed God for the healing of sick bodies. New Testament miracles have occurred whenever New Testament faith has been found. God has not changed. Just as His command to preach the gospel is for believers today, so His promise of healing is valid for today. Divine healing is part of the gospel. John Wesley, a great leader of the church and father of the Methodist denomination, believed in anointing the sick with oil. Wesley taught that God wanted the church to practice the gift of healing until Christ returned.
We live in a world where people are looking for hope. Unfortunately, much of what they hope for is unrealistic. Some believe that hope is already lost. The Bible repeatedly assures us that we can hold on to a real and living hope. In part, this hope is founded on our salvation; however, Paul wrote that all of creation “waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed . . . in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:19–21). As believers, “we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved” (8:23–24). Such hope can carry us through difficult times. One day, Jesus, the rightful ruler of this world, will return. His return is our blessed hope.
Paul said that we live in a frustrated world. We look forward to an awesome future but are not there yet (Romans 8:18–25). Jesus has not told us the exact time the last things will occur, but He has told us this: “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me” (Revelation 22:12).When He comes, He will take us home. We will live in fellowship with Him forever. In this final chapter, we will look at the end of our journey home. We will study the glory and beauty of the millennial reign of Christ as well as the final judgment and final destination of all unbelievers. Then we will consider the glory of the new heavens and earth: our own final destination as believers. One day, a city built by God will come to rest on a new world. When we walk into that city, into the presence of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, we will finally and forever be home.