The following Bible study was prepared to explain the plan of salvation in a simple, one-lesson condensed form with a teacher to guide discussion, or by self-study. If desired, it can be divided into two parts by taking a short break between each of two 30-minutes sessions. A recommended place for a break is after the section on "Into the Gospels".
Each participating student should have a copy of the study along with a Bible (preferably the King James Version) and a pen or pencil. As each scripture is read, the student is asked to become involved, sometimes by completing a "fill-in-the-blank", or responding to a question. Additional comments and supplementary scripture references (designated throughout the text by numerals in parenthesis) are provided for further in-depth study at a later time.
May we also suggest that all participants take a moment to ask the Lord's help in understanding His Word, as King David once did when he prayed, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." May God bless you as we travel together, "into His marvelous light"...
"...that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..." 1 Peter 2:9
When walking out of a dark room into the sunshine, light can be blinding. As our eyes become accustomed to the light, we can see more clearly and enjoy the scenery that surrounds us. Likewise, when we look into the light of the scriptures, the brightness of truth can sometimes hurt. However, as our spiritual eyesight becomes adjusted we can enjoy "walking in the light".
This Bible study is designed to allow us to "walk" into the marvelous light of the Word of God. We will be journeying into the scriptures by imagining we are back in the days of Jesus and the Apostles, listening to them teach and preach the plan of salvation. In order to do this, we will be careful to "rightly divide the word of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:15) by concentrating on the highlights of the three main divisions of the New Testament in chronological order, including:
1. THE GOSPELS - covering the words and works of Jesus Christ
2. THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - covering the actions and preaching of the Apostles
3. THE EPISTLES - covering the letters written by the Apostles to the churches they started in the Book of Acts
We believe the scriptures are divinely inspired and, "of no private interpretation"(2 Peter 1:20-21). Therefore, every effort has been made to present the pure Word of God without adding to, or taking away from its teachings (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:5-6). It is not our intention to diminish any personal relationship you may have with our Lord. neither do we desire to convince you of our own personal ideas or the creeds of any denomination. We simply desire to share the truth as it is written. Only by claiming the Bible as our sole authority can any of us be confident of our salvation, for it is the Word of God and not the traditions of men that will judge us all in the end.
Let us read 2 Timothy 3:15-16 as we begin our journey into the Word of God...
John 1:1-5 & 14
In the beginning, the __________ as God and become flesh. Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God.
To find out what the Apostles' word was to be, let us read what Jesus told them to proclaim. The setting of the following great commission scripture in Luke 24:45-49 is just after the Lord's death, burial and resurrection...and just before His ascension into heaven.
"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His nameamong all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high"
DID THE APOSTLES PREACH THE MESSAGE JESUS COMMANDED THEM TO PROCLAIM?
HOW WAS THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER FULFILLED?
Let us continue our journey into the Word of God by seeing what was preached and what happened at Jerusalem...
NOTICE: Acts 2:38 is the fulfillment of the two "new birth" requirements Jesus mentioned in John 3:5that were necessary to enter the Kingdom of God! Water birth=baptism in the name of Jesus Christ! Spirit birth=infilling of the Holy Ghost!
Now, let's look at some more examples of people being born again of water and the Spirit as the word Jesus gave His apostles continued to be preached throughout the Book of Acts...
PHILIP PREACHING TO THE SAMARITANS IN ACTS 8...
NOTICE: Some people say when they experienced joy, or when they believed in Jesus, or when they were baptized, they were automatically filled with the Holy Ghost. But what does the Word say?
Acts 8:5-8 ... Did they have great joy? yes____ no_____
PETER PREACHING TO THE GENTILES IN ACTS 10
NOTICE: Some people say being religious is enough, or that the Spirit-baptism evidenced by tongues was only for the Day of Pentecost. If the Bible says this is true, then it is true. But if the Word shows through Cornelius' experience that this is not true....then it is not.
Acts 10:1-2 ...Was Cornelius a religious man? Yes___ No___
PAUL PREACHING TO JOHN'S DISCIPLES IN ACTS 19...
NOTICE: Many people who are believers have not even heard about the Holy Ghost that is promised to them. Also, some people say it is not necessary to be baptized or re-baptized. (If you were baptized by John the Baptist, would you think it would be necessary to be re-baptized using a different formula? If the Bible indicates it does not matter, then it does not matter. But...what is the Bible shows us it DOES matter?
Acts 19:1-2 They were believers, but had they heard of, or received the Holy Ghost? Yes___ No___
vs. 3-5 Did those baptized by John the Baptist have to be re-baptized in Jesus' Name? Yes___ No___
vs. 6 Was receiving the Holy Ghost accompanied by the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues? Yes___ No___
We have found that the Apostles preached the following salvation message:
... The life of Christ and His death, burial and resurrection
Now, let us read what the Apostles had to say about the message of salvation they proclaimed in the Book of Acts. We can do this by reading the epistles (letters) they wrote to their converts.
As we read the Epistles, we will notice how strongly the Apostles felt about the gospel (good news) of salvation. This is not because they were being judgmental. It is because they knew the Word Jesus had given them to proclaim was going to judge all men.
What did Peter say?
"Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth...being born again...by the word of God...and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you". (1 Peter 1:22-25)
Obedience to God's Word purifies our souls!
Peter asked a Question:
"...What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"(1 Peter 4:17-18)
Paul gave the Answer:
"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
It is eternally important to obey the gospel!
What did Paul say?
There is only one gospel!
What did James say?
"...Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." (James 1:21-24)
The Word is able to save our souls!
JAMES TELLS US THAT IF WE SEE SOMETHING WE NEED TO DO, AS WE LOOK INTO THE "MIRROR OF THE WORD", WE SHOULD DO IT. LET US NOW CONSIDER WHAT WE WILL DO WITH WHAT WE HAVE HEARD...
DO YOU BELIEVE the Word of God is true and will judge us?
DO YOU BELIEVE Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior?
DO YOU BELIEVE it is necessary to repent by determining to turn from sin and giving your life to God?
DO YOU BELIEVE water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ is the biblical way to be baptized?
DO YOU BELIEVE the baptism of the Holy Ghost is for you today, and when you receive it you will speak in other tongues, just as they did in the bible?
IF YOU BELIEVE THESE THINGS, PRAY RIGHT NOW, ASKING GOD TO ALLOW YOU TO EXPERIENCE ALL THAT HE HAS FOR YOU!
We encourage you to read through the Gospels, Acts and Epistles in detail ... and continue to walk, "... Into His marvelous light"!