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Preparation for Bible Class.  Let’s review the three essentials of Christianity – apart from which Bible class is of little to no benefit. 


             First.  Salvation by grace through faith – apart from ANY human works!


                                                  Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.


            BY GRACE” !   When a person responds to common grace, i.e. the call of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:8-11), to place faith in Jesus Christ, he is saved by grace alone.  All salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ – NO EXCEPTIONS!  When a person places faith in Jesus Christ he is totally and completely helpless as far as relationship with God.  Salvation is exclusively a grace work of God. 


            “NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS”!  There is absolutely nothing you can do to accomplish salvation.  It is BLASPHEMOUS to even suggest that by joining a church, or being baptized, or raising your hands, or repenting of your sins, or walking an isle, or inviting Christ into your heart, or going through some emotional activity that you can be saved.  It is nothing but sheer blasphemy to suggest a person is saved by any activity they can do.  It is by faith alone, faith is trusting Christ for salvation - relying on HIS WORK on the Cross. 


            “THAT NO ONE SHOULD BOAST”!   There is no place for boasting in the Plan of God.  There is no place for arrogance at salvation or in the Christian way of life – period! 


            Salvation is all about Jesus Christ.  There are only two options.  Acceptance of Him or rejection of Him and the consequences of that choice are irrevocably eternal.


                        John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


            The greatest attack on Christianity has always been adding religion to it.  Christianity is not a religion, it is a PERSONAL relationship with God made possible by Jesus Christ alone.  Even the Apostle Peter got caught up in adding religion with its legalism during the early stage of Church History, i.e. by adding the Mosaic Law as the means of salvation and spirituality – to which the Apostle Paul gave him a "royal chewing out," cf. Gal 2:11-16. 


            Second.  Spirituality/Fellowship with God - walking in your relationship with God by walking in the light of His Word – i.e. Christian doctrine


                          1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.


            After salvation, you entered into the Plan of God and now it is of paramount importance that you live in fellowship with God which alone can provide the basis for true spirituality.   God’s plan for your life includes a vast array of issues.  There are things that you get to choose and there are things that you have no choice about.  You have the option of living in fellowship with Him and applying His Word to the details of life and growing spiritually.  But there are also things in the Plan of God that you have absolutely no control over. 


            There are areas that are 100% His Call – where He is absolutely sovereign.   You did not decide when to be born, if you were to be a boy or girl, what country you would be born into and at what time.   You did not get to decide about your genes or any flaws or strengths in your genetic combinations.    You also did not get to decide which spiritual gift you would receive.  God did not ask me if I wanted the gift of pastor-teacher.   That was 100% His call.  I can accept it or reject it but it was His choice and it is important for us all to be mindful of the fact that His unique calling for each of us is in His and our best interest.                     


            Third.  Spiritual growth/maturity: growth in epignosis (metabolized) doctrine, 2 Pet 3:18.


                        2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


            God’s goal for every believer is spiritual growth!   Growth in grace (supergrace and ultrasupergrace) and knowledge = the edification complex of the soul where the soul is filled with divine viewpoint – filled with God’s Word.





            In this series on death we have been noting Christ, our archegon (ἀρχηγὸν) and teleioten (τελειωτὴν) of faith (Heb 12:2), and His lessons on death.  Christ in his true humanity facing His own physical death provides us, in fact instantiates for us, five divine viewpoint dynamics regarding death:   1) Christ died with the right attitude, 2) Christ died at the right time, 3) Christ died in the right way, 4) Christ died for the right purpose, and 5) Christ died with the right commitment.

            In this DDR we take a look at the right commitment in death.   Death is to be a time of absolute trust in God’s deliverance as we leave our mortal bodies and move into the presence of Christ.   Note the very last words Christ uttered with His dying breath, 

                          Luke 23:46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit." And having said this, He breathed His last.

            When Christ died physically He died entrusting Himself to the Father whom He so passionately loved – for whom He had perfect personal love.  We too can die committing our eternity into the hands of our Lord in heaven,

                          Acts 7:59 And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

            Christ completely entrusted Himself into the hands of His Father in the face of overwhelming odds all around Him.    Christ did not have Christians around to comfort Him with Scriptures.  Christ had no one to hold His hands and tell Him it would be OK.  He did not have anyone praying for Him as He died in extreme pain, agony, and shame.  No one was around to help Him.  In fact, to the contrary, while He was dying physically He was being taunted by the bystanders and bore the insults and mocking of His own faith in God by the thief who died on the left side of Christ -

                        Luke 23:39 And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"

            All of His enemies were around Him.   The ANGRY religious leaders rejected Him, beat Him, and handed Him over to the Romans.  The Romans carried out the unjust execution.  The disciples had left Him.  All were mocking Him, His doctrinal claims, as in particular His faith in God and the Plan of God,

                          Matthew 27:38 At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying, 42 "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him. 43 "He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"

            In the face of all of this how was it that Christ, in his humanity, had such tremendous faith and confidence – fully entrusting His soul into the Father’s hands?

                        Luke 23:46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit (εἰς χεῖράς σου παραθήσομαι τὸ πνεῦμά μου)." And having said this, He breathed His last.

            One critical lesson to learn from Him is that we like Him will ultimately die alone.  Regardless of who is around you and the manner of your death – which has been designed by your Heavenly Father – you will die alone.  We all ultimately live alone and will die alone.  We may have throngs of people around us in life and in death, but again WE STILL ALL LIVE AND DIE ALONE. 

            Let’s advance this a step further.  As we live we will die.  In other words, if you live a life of faith you will die in faith.   The Lord gives us all capacity for life and death. If we reject His plan and thus do not have capacity for life then we will not be able to face our death – at least not with peace and confidence.  Losers in life are generally losers in dying moments of their death.  Winners in life (believers advancing in the Plan of God) are winners in death.  You will die as you live.   Those who live in fear and doubt (always are result of passive or active, deliberative, arbitrary, or irrational negative volition) in their lives will likely do so in their death.  Those who live for Kosmos diabolicus will not want to let go in of their stuff in their death.    For some the Lord allows the exit to be paved with pain just to get the believer ready to leave this place and go Home – a place of no more pain, no sorrow, when the old things have passed away.

            The believer who has a healthy spiritual life, the Christ-centered life, lives with the most fantastic capacity for life and death, as reflected in Paul,

                          Philippians 1:20-21 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

            Look at Philip 1:21 again.  How is it that death is considered gain?  If your living is not about Jesus Christ and the infallible Word of God how can you see death as GAIN? 

            Christ in His humanity was able to have fantastic faith at His dying moment in spite of all opposition because He had fantastic faith during His earthly life in spite of all opposition.   It is spiritual capacity for life that gives us spiritual capacity for death – I.E. really believe that death is a PROMOTION.   

            We must learn how to live and we must learn how to die.  This is only possible through Christian doctrine.  The fact that we are living does not mean that we know how to live.  The fact that we will die does not even imply that we know how to die.  While we are surrounded by many people (some may love us very much; some do not care for us at all; and some do not know us and never will) there are still many things in life we must do alone - totally apart from any HUMAN help. 

            There are so many things we must do for ourselves.  We must do our own thinking.  We must formulate our own motivation.  We do our own suffering.  We even have to handle our own prosperity.  We experience our own pain.  We experience our own challenges.  We make our own decisions – some take responsibility, but most do not.  We establish our own priorities.   And yes again: you must do your own dying.  No one can die for you (physically that is).  You have to do your own dying.  You must do it alone.  No one can do it for you. 

            The population on the earth continues to grow but regardless of how many billions are on the earth, the things that count the most have to be done by you and you alone – by your own soul – apart from any help from any human being.  No one can make your decisions for you. No one can give you faith.  No one can give you your commitment to God, no one can commit your life to God – that is something God has reserved for you.  No one can make you be committed to Bible doctrine!  That is a choice we ourselves make regarding life and death - we get to be like Paul or Demas, 

                   2 Timothy 4:6-10  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 9 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica;  

            To any extent that others try to make decisions for you, they are running your life.  The great issue is that you must live your own life before God.  You must make your own decisions good or bad and then take responsibility for them.   You can’t play games with God – and get away with it.  You MUST learn from Christian doctrine on how to live and how to die - how to go it alone with God in a crowd, how to go it alone with God when you are isolated. 

            Being alive as a Christian does not imply that you have the slightest idea of how to live or how to die.  Again:  it is Christian doctrine alone which can give us that capacity - and the Holy Spirit is always willing but..............

 Christian doctrine matters!

On the Glory Road,

Pastor Don