This Wednesday at FirstKids we are going to start a new program. From 6:00-6:30 children will participate in Worship KidStyle, which is a children’s worship curriculum created by Lifeway. When this program concludes, children will either go to Celebration of Liberty practice or they will go under supervised childcare. Preschoolers will also have their own version of Worship Kidstyle to attend.

At 6:30 I will be teaching a bible study on the theology of Marriage and Family. I will be using different sources for this study but will be heavily leaning on the book, God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas Kostenberger and David Jones. I had Dr. Jones as a professor in seminary and this book is very similar to a class that he taught while I was there.

I hope that you will continue to make Wednesday nights a priority this summer and I hope to see you there!

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Here are the notes from Wednesday’s study on the Holy Spirit:

#7 – What do Baptists believe about the Holy Spirit?

Many Christians know very little about the Holy Spirit. This is sad because throughout the Bible the Holy Spirit is identified as the divine agent behind many of the most important events in God’s dealings with humankind. The Spirit has a role in many aspects of our salvation. The Holy Spirit is a person, not an inanimate or depersonalized force. There are three aspects of the Holy Spirit that we believe:

“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ.”

1. The Holy Spirit Inspired God’s Word – Through verbal plenary inspiration God used various people, their gifts, talents, and personalities to write Scripture. The human authors wrote exactly what they wanted to write and the Holy Spirit moved the authors to write exactly what He wanted them to write. The Holy Spirit works within believers to accomplish His sovereign purposes (unlike Islam’s dictation from Allah to Mohammed)

2. The Holy Spirit Ministers to People – The HS has many different purposes and responsibilities

“He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.”

a. He convicts of sin – We know what is right and wrong because the HS convicts. Question: Does the HS convict people who are not saved? Yes, somehow – Read John 16:5-11

“He calls men to the Savior,”

b. He calls unbelievers to salvation – The HS having convicted the sinner of sin, calls the sinner to Christ.

“…and effects regeneration.”

c. He brings regeneration – The HS effects regeneration, or a new birth, as He calls us to faith in Christ.

“At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ.”

d. He indwells believers – Peter said at Pentecost, “Repent … and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) Because we believe this we reject the Pentecostal and Charismatic doctrine of the second blessing which states that the baptism of the HS is separate from the gift of the Spirit at the moment of regeneration.

“He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption.”

e. He seals believers – You cannot lose your salvation. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of god, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30) Therefore, one is lost, saved, or grieving the HS. Question: How long can one grieve the HS?

“His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ.”

f. He illuminates truth – The HS illuminates believers’ spiritual discernment so that they understand truth. “We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.” (1 Cor. 2:12-13). Criswell said that the HS takes the place of Jesus in the flesh. When we possess the HS we possess the HS

g. He teaches believers – The HS works within believers to produce and understanding of spiritual things. He opens our spiritual eyes. He is our constant teacher, opening our understanding to the things of God. “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.” (John 16:13)

h. He intercedes for believers – He intercedes with “groanings too deep for words.” (Rom. 8:26)

“He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church.”

3. The Holy Spirit Builds the Church
– The HS also works within the church.

a. He brings unity – Unity is one of the HS’s greatest gifts to the church. Paul instructed us to keep “the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope at your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:3-6)

b. He bestows spiritual gifts – Every believer is given at least one gift as God wills, but no one gift is given to all believers.

Next week is a week off for spring break and then the class will return in April as we discuss the doctrine of man.

Study Notes from Wednesday’s Bible Study

#5 – What do Baptists believe about God the Son? (His Life – Part 1)

“Christ is the eternal son of God.”

I. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. John Broadus wrote, “Jesus is the center of Scripture. Everything in the OT points forward to Him; everything in the NT proceeds forth from Him.”

a. Jesus existed with the Father before the creation of the world – there was never a time when Christ did not exist or will not exist. Gen., John 17:5, John 1:1-2, John 8:58, John 10:30, Rev. 22:13

b. Jesus was the agent of creation – “All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.” – John 1:3

c. Jesus is the Lord over all creation- “He is before all things and by Him all things hold together” – Col. 1:17

“In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.”

II. Jesus Christ was the born Son of God

a. Jesus’ coming in human form is called the incarnation – the divine Son Jesus’ coming to and living on earth in human form. (Phil. 2) He who made the universe came into His own creation to save His people. God came and dwelt among us – distinctive truth of the Christian faith.

b. Jesus was born of a virgin – This doctrine is essential to Christianity, because it is central to understanding who Jesus is. He came in true human flesh, though he was not conceived by a human father. He was conceived without sin. Thus, he can identify with us in our humanity without the stain of sin. If God can create the world, create man from the dust of the ground, he can form a man in the womb of a virgin. What we believe about God tells us what we believe about Scripture. The virgin birth should not be hard to accept (Luke 1:37)

“Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience…”

III. Jesus Christ lived life as both 100% God and 100% man

a. In his perfect humanity Christ did not sin. His life was marked by perfect obedience.

b. In his perfect humanity, He fully identifies with us – Heb. 4:15-16. He was tempted in every way, yet without sin.

Here is this week’s study notes from the Parent Bible Study:

#3 – What do Baptists believe about God?

“There is one and only one living and true God.”

Trying to sum up God in one lesson is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant that is the size of the universe.

I. There is one living and true God

a. Knowing God is the foundation of the Christian worldview – our concept of God and our belief that He exists make all the difference in the way we look at our world and live our lives (voting, lifestyle decisions, etc.)

b. Knowing God comes from Scripture and not from flawed wisdom (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

c. There is one God (Isaiah 45:5) – this idea is not popular in our society and is labeled ‘intolerant.’

“He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being…”

II. God has certain attributes

a. God is intelligent – God is a knowing Being, not a blind force. He has “perfect knowledge” (Job 37:16)
b. God is spiritual – He is a transcendent Being who is in no way limited by a physical body (John 4:24)
c. God is personal – God has a personality and relates to his people in a personal way. The fact that he is personal makes it possible for us to relate to Him
d. God is also self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, glorious, an unchanging.

“…the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe.”

III. God has certain activities

a. God is Creator – He created the world ex nihilo – out of nothing. Until God created the world and everything in it, nothing existed at all.
b. God is Redeemer – God rescues His people from peril. Jesus is the story of God’s redeeming love as revealed and fulfilled.
c. God is Preserver – God protects and guards His action and His creatures. No creature, no matter how small, escapes His concern and care. (Matt. 10:29)
d. God is Ruler – God exercises His kingly lordship over the entire cosmos. God remains intimately involved with His creation.

God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including future decisions of His free creatures.

IV. God has certainties

a. God is all-knowing – He has perfect knowledge
b. God is all-powerful – He is completely in control
c. God is sovereign – He is love and he is just.
d. God is holy – He is pure and perfect with no imperfections. (Isaiah 6:3) The acknowledgment of God’s holiness causes Isaiah to recognize his sinfulness. God does not and cannot sin. He is the standard for righteousness and holiness.

“To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.”

V. God is three persons in one essence

The trinity cannot be completely explained or drawn. We will learn more about the Trinity next week as we focus on God the Father.

bible.jpgHere are the notes from Wednesday night’s Parent Bible Study:

What do Baptists believe about the Bible? (Part Two)

“…salvation for its end…”

I. The Bible is a book about Salvation

Deut 6:1-2 “This is the command – the statutes and ordinances – the Lord your God has instructed me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to possess. Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all His statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life.”

a. Obedience leads to life and blessing

b. Disobedience leads to catastrophe – The Bible guides our life (Psalm 119:105 – Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.)

c. There are four ways that we can demonstrate our love for the Word of God: studying, obeying, teaching, listening (Hebrews 4:12-13, Isaiah 55:11, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

d. The main purpose of the Bible is to point us to Jesus Christ and to tell us how to be saved. (1 John 5:13) (Andy Stanley story)

e. Other purposes include teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, and equipping for good works.

II. The Bible is completely true

“ …and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.”

“If you read the Old Testament, you will find phrases like ‘the Word of the Lord’ or ‘the Word of God’ or ‘God spoke or ‘the Lord said’ used 3,808 times. If the Bible is not the Word of God, it’s the biggest bundle of lies that has ever come to planet Earth. The Bible is truth, absolutely.” – Adrian Rogers

“The instruction of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.” Psalm 19:7

There are five specific ways Baptists affirm that the Bible is true.

a. The Bible is authoritative – All scripture is God-breathed so that Christians have no right to dismiss or question any biblical text, for all Scripture is God-breathed. We do not base our teachings on mere human tradition, nor do we base our faith on human wisdom. The Bible alone is the rule of our faith and life.

b. The Bible is infallible – God never fails, nor does his Word. The Bible is the strongest weapon in the hands of the believer. (Eph. 6:17)

c. The Bible is inerrant – It contains no doctrinal error of any kind.

d. The Bible is sufficient – We are not to add or subtract from the Bible. (Deut. 4:2) We should decide every issue from a biblical perspective.

e. The Bible is eternal – the Word of the Lord endures forever (1 Pet. 1:24-25)

bible2.jpgNotes from last night’s study:

What do Baptists believe about the Bible?

“The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction.”

1. The Bible is God’s Revelation of Himself to Mankind

a. General Revelation – God’s making known His nature and purpose through nature and history. God reveals Himself to us all persons through the moral faculty we call conscience. Our undeniable knowledge of good and evil, of right and wrong. C.S. Lewis calls this the Law of Nature. (Romans 1:25) Psalm 19:1-2 – “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”

b. Special Revelation – God’s making known His nature and purpose through the written Word and His Son Jesus Christ. Romans 1:18-20 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

“It has God for its author,”

2. The Bible was written by God – What do we mean by that?

a. Inspiration – The breathing of God’s Spirit on human speech and writing to produce the text of the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”)

b. There are several different theories of inspiration

i. The Dynamic Theory – God gave human authors basic ideas that they developed in their own ways.
ii. The Verbal Plenary Theory – Every word of the Bible is fully inspired. God used their personalities, writing styles, and personal experiences to accomplish His perfect purpose. The Holy Spirit worked through them, inspiring them so thoroughly that they were moved to write exactly what God intended – right down to the very words. We hold to this one.
iii. The Dictation Theory – The authors were passive instruments who recorded divine dictation.

3. Why did God choose His written Word to reveal Himself? Wayne Grudem gives three reasons (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 50).

a. More accurate preservation – Depending on memory and the repeating or oral tradition is less reliable
b. Opportunity for repeated inspection – permits careful study and discussion, which leads to better understanding and more complete obedience
c. Accessible to many more people

Questions to wrestle with:

1. What about the “man on a deserted island” or “the African in the bush?”
2. Does this make God unfair, unjust, or unloving?

Next week we will look at part 2 of The Scriptures:

1. What is the Bible about?

2. Is the entirety of the Bible true?

logosouthernbabtistconvention.jpgTonight was the first week in our inaugural Parent Bible Study. I will post the outlines with some commentary from me so those who missed can read what we talked about. Here is week 1:

Introduction – What is a Southern Baptist? (Pt.1)

1. A Southern Baptist is first and foremost a Christian – A Christian is someone who confesses Christ as Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9) – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Simple as that. If someone confesses with their mouth and believes with their heart that Jesus was raised from the dead then that person is saved. However, only God truly knows a person’s heart.

2. Secondly, a Southern Baptists is an Evangelical – An Evangelical can be defined as “a movement transcending denominational and confessional boundaries, that emphasizes conformity to basic tenets of the faith and a missionary outreach of compassion and urgency.” (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 405). The EDT lists six of these basic tenets that Evangelicals adhere to:

a. The importance on the transcendence of God. God transcends space and time. He created everything we know an and have.

b. Scripture as divinely inspired, inerrant. When we speak of Scripture being inerrant we are speaking of the original autographs that Paul, Matthew, Mark, Moses, and every Bible writer put down. Those words that flowed from those pens were 100% inspired by God. You may hear of people speaking that the Bible is filled with mistakes. They are right. If you talk of copying a word twice copying a word twice (like I just did) then you are correct that the Bible is filled with mistakes. There are certain minor grammatical mistakes on copies of manuscripts. However, these mistakes have nothing to do with doctrinal error. Therefore, we believe that Scripture is perfect and inerrant.

c. Third, Evangelicals deny the Enlightenment doctrine of a person’s innate goodness. One of the fallacious conclusions that Enlightenment thinkers developed is that humanity is basically good. The world is filled with basically good people. This is not what the Bible says. (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) Humanity has a sin problem. This sin problem is why Jesus came and leads us to number four:

d. Fourthly, God provided the way out of eternal damnation by allowing Jesus to atone for our sins.

e. Fifthly, salvation is an act of grace (and only grace, not works).

f. Sixth, Evangelicals stress preaching the Bible.

3. Third, a Southern Baptist is…ta da! A Baptist – The EDT states that a Baptist believes in “the spiritual nature of the church and the practice of baptism naturally arises as a corollary of this in the light of the NT teaching.” (EDT, 139) There are several theological positions that are held by those who consider themselves Baptists:

a. Membership of the Church – the church is composed of those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit and who have been brought to personal and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Membership is entered voluntarily and that only believers may participate in its ordinances. (EDT, 138ff)

b. Nature of the Church – Each Baptist church is a local assembly of believers.

c. Government of the Church – Christ is the head. Each Southern Baptist church is autonomous meaning that it is self-sustaining and self-governing. Each SBC church chooses its own leaders from within.

d. Ordinances of the Church – These are the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

e. Ministry of the Church – A Baptist minister becomes so by God’s call. Public acknowledgment of that call comes in an ordination service. Also, every member is a minister to the church by using their God-given spiritual gifts

f. Ecumenicity of the Church – It’s all about cooperation. Southern Baptist churches cooperate with each other in order to reach people for Christ.

Next week we will talk about how the Southern Baptist Convention came about. See you then!