The Innkeeper Did Have Room For Jesus!

Christmas Tree Cerca Pier

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

When the story of the birth of Jesus is told, the innkeeper often gets a bum wrap. How could you not have room for a pregnant lady? How could you not have room for the Son of God! Wait a minute. The innkeeper did have room for a pregnant lady. He did have room for the Son of God. He had room for them in the barn. It was a long day, with many weary travelers coming up to the counter needing lodging, and he did his best to please everybody. Then at the end of the day comes Mary and Joseph, and the innkeeper replies, “Well, here is what’s left.”

Can you identify with the innkeeper? At the end of a long day do you fall on your pillow, and send up a brief weak prayer before falling asleep? It’s not that you forgot God. You didn’t. It’s not that you had no room for Him in your day. You did. Just like the innkeeper had a barn left over for Jesus, you had a brief, weak prayer left over for Jesus.

Not too terribly long before the birth of Jesus God spoke through Malachi.

Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.

 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 1:7-8

Many of us, at least in North America can be materialistic. We think of wealth in terms of money or possessions. Yet Solomon says,

“a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4

A lion may be the king of the jungle but a living dog is better off than a dead king because he is still alive, and still has time. Therefore time is the most valuable and precious gift you can give. When you give someone your time you are literally giving them your life! Also, when we give time to God or the church we are often saving the church money. A modest family in a large church may not be able to give $1,000.00 a month to the church, but when they volunteer to clean the church, so the church does not have to hire someone, they are literally donating $1,000.00 a month by saving the church that money.

Even though time is the most precious gift we can give, we need to ask ourselves if we are really giving the best of our possessions. Am I really giving, when I give clothes to the community service center that I would otherwise throw away? Remember, what you do to the least of the brethren you are doing for Jesus. Is Jesus worth more than my throw away clothes? Then so is my brother. Am I giving the best I have, or like the innkeeper, just whatever is left?

Am I giving my best effort in both my time and money to save the lost? Jesus gave His life to save the vilest sinner. If the vilest sinner is worth the life of God’s own son, wouldn’t the vilest sinner also be worth my life as well? After Jesus gave everything He had to save sinners, would I not be considering my life of more value than His, if I do not give my life as well?

Am I giving my best for Jesus or like the innkeeper, am I just giving whatever is left? Am I giving the world my best, or just whatever is left over?

So as we evaluate the story of Jesus’ birth we see the innkeeper did indeed have room for Jesus. However since it wasn’t the room Jesus deserved, we pretty much consider it having no room at all! Maybe instead of picking on the innkeeper, we should evaluate our own lives and our own gifts.  Sure, like the innkeeper we all are giving something, but are we giving what is left over, or are we giving Him our best?

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

Oh, and let me be the first to wish you a merry Christmas this year! 

Brad and Anna’s Baptism

Several months ago Mrs. Mateo, a teacher at Tampa Adventist Academy told me about a lady named Anna, who visited the school to teach a few science projects and was interested in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today Anna and her husband Brad were baptized! Please enjoy the pictures and stories.

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Brad and Anna worked on the Discover Bible Study Guides at home and would bring them for us to go over in class, as well as the In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides. Coming from different backgrounds, Brad and Anna would often bring a different angle of approach to the study which made for very stimulating study. Though we sometimes saw things differently our goal was always to go by the Bible and find out what the Bible says about each topic. This way we all learned more about the Bible from each other, as everyone’s background gives them something to bring to the table that can help others to learn more about Jesus and the Bible.

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Mrs. Wyatte and Mrs. Mateo, who befriended Anna and introduced her to me, joined us as Pastor Brad went over the baptism vows and we welcomed Anna and Brad into the Tampa First SDA Church family. Brad and Anna chose today to be baptized because it is their anniversary! Brad and Ann will also be joining my class, beginning July 6th on how to give Bible studies and lead others to Jesus.

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Anna writes:

” I have been searching most of my adult life for a faith that I could 100% fully & faithfully believe in. My  husband had told me about the Adventist faith and directed me to writings and information about Adventist. Time had past and life caught up with me….I was at a crossroads in my life and in search of guidance and answers. I was blessed to have a good friend reintroduce me to the Adventist faith and encourage me to attend Sabbath. I was pleased to find a faith that I already believed in, I couldn’t believe that a faith existed that was so true to my beliefs and values. The Adventist faith I believe is for me, its like second nature and something I believe is great for me and my family. Through my studies I have learned that all answers to my questions can be found in the bible and through prayer. Reading the bible and praying has brought me closer to GOD and given me clarity on life’s purpose. Most importantly I have a relationship with GOD and have strengthen my knowledge of the bible , this has granted me peace of mind . I am looking forward to being baptized and walking the path with GOD.    The Adventist faith has been a blessing in my life, it has opened my eyes, mind and heart. I know where I’m going and through Christ I am saved and truly blessed. I am grateful to all of those in my life that have helped me gain knowledge and understanding and I look forward to taking this journey towards GOD.”
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Brad Writes:

“William,
 It has been great studying the Bible and learning how the Seventh-Day Adventist faith can help me live a more fulfilling and Christ filled life. Without a doubt your patience in answering and explaining the basic tenets of Christianity to the more complex theological questions is a true testament to your breadth of knowledge. The encouragement and fellowship we received has helped build our confidence not only in our own walk with Jesus Christ, it has also helped us believe we are capable of helping others learn and appreciate the uniqueness of the Seventh-Day Adventist. By using what you have shown me as a foundation, I feel I am able to continue studying with a firm understanding that answers I seek about this life and the one hereafter are in the Bible. Thank you for your time and may God continue to bless you in all that you do.”
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Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:3-6 NLT 

By the way, I was very pleased, when after the baptism a lady from our church family invited Anna and Brad and myself to a celebration dinner after this Sabbath so she and her family can welcome them personally to the family of God!

Hillsborough River Tampa

Please don’t let the sun set on you before you give your heart and life to the One who gave His heart and life for you! If you would like to know more about following Jesus all the way I would love to hear from you at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net. Even if you are not in the Tampa Bay area please contact me and I will be glad to direct you to a Bible based Christian church in your area.

Salvation In Light Of The Cross – With New Living Translation

Mark

You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

Salvation

 

Brief overview: Salvation from death and sin is a free gift from God. It is not earned. It is a free gift courtesy of God’s love and grace. See John 3:16Romans 6:23Ephesians 2:1-102 Timothy 1:9.

 

Why it is important to know the truth about salvation?

In pagan religions man makes the sacrifices to obtain the pleasure and acceptance of his “god”. Some pagan tribes have offered up human sacrifices just to make sure the sun would rise the next day. They also brought gifts for their “gods” hoping to gain their love and blessing. In Christianity it is the exact opposite. Our God sacrifices Himself on the Cross to obtain not His but our pleasure and acceptance. While we were the guilty ones He did not wait for us to bring a gift or peace offering, but made Himself the peace offering.

Revelation 12 tells us of a war in heaven. Not with machine guns and tanks, but a war of the minds. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan wanted God’s seat to the point where he was willing to kill God Himself to get it. He convinced a third of the angels that it would be in the best interest of the Universe if he was in control rather than God. Satan came to this earth and in Genesis 3 convinced Eve and thus mankind that he was more interested in our welfare than God was. For years a great controversy has raged over who has our best interest in mind.

Why understanding salvation in light of the cross is important:

The Cross settles the controversy of who has our best interest in mind once and for all. At the Cross we see the true character of both God and Satan. While we see Satan manipulating men to kill God, we see a tyrant who is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way of being number one. In contrast we see a God who is willing to give His life to save the world. The Cross shows who is really interested in our welfare and who is just using us as pawns for his own selfish purposes.

While Satan pretended to be on our side and acting in our best interest we see what he is really up to. We can also see the God whom Satan claimed did not really care about us is actually at peace with us and on our side!

Further study on Salvation

If Jesus were to come today would you be saved?

I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.  1 John 5:13 NLT

God wants us to know we are saved. He does not want us wondering or hoping, but knowing that we have eternal life. We have done nothing to earn this, but then again, what did the angels do to earn their place in heaven? Nothing! They were just created there. Before and after sin and the cross, life has always been a free gift and always will be.

If you were to stand before God and He asked you why He should allow you into His kingdom what would you say?

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

I like to share that if I was asked that question, I would just point to Jesus and say “Ask Him?” Jesus would then explain that He was treated the way I deserve to be treated so I may be treated the way He deserves to be treated.

“Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His.” Desire of Ages, page 25

Why do I need grace?

 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23 NLT

What are the wages of sin?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 NLT

I like to share right here that the wages of sin is not eternal torment in hell.John 3:16 says those who believe “shall not perish” instead of “shall not betormented for all eternity.”

What is sin?  Important to know since sin causes death.

Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.

 1 John 3:4 NLT

Note: Good news is that it is not a sin to be human or tempted. It is a sin to willfully and knowingly break God’s law. Obviously the law is still in effect. If there were no law I could not break God’s law and sin, and therefore I would not need grace. The fact that I need grace shows there is still a law.

Now if I run a red light just one time I deserve a ticket. Likewise one sin is all it takes for me to deserve death. This leads us to Romans 5:10,19

How does God deal with the fact that I don’t have a prefect life to offer?

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.  Romans 5:10 NLT

Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.  Romans 5:19 NLT

I am not only saved by His death. I am also saved by His life! His life stands in the place of my life. Again, Jesus was treated as we deserve so we can be treated as he deserves.

Jesus takes our sins and gives us His righteousness.

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT

Note: Jesus took the punishment for my sins in which He had no share, so that I may have the reward of His righteousness in which I had no share. Jesus was treated the way I deserve to be treated so I may be treated the way He deserves to be treated.

Jesus gives us eternal life and then helps us to hate the sins we now love and to love the good things we now hate.

He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.  1 Peter 2:24 NLT

 

The Scriptures In Light Of The Cross- With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides- NLT here.

The Scriptures

 

Brief overview: The Scriptures are inspired by God to lead us into a relationship with Him that will give us eternal salvation in heaven and a prosperous life here on earth. See 2 Timothy 3:15-16John 20:31.

Why it is important to know the truth about the Scriptures: 

Years ago I lived on a ranch helping out occasionally with the horses. The ranch had a very nice swimming pool just up the road from the mobile home where I lived. One evening I invited a family to go swimming. As we walked back on that road towards my home it was dark and a big juicy spider had made a web between the trees on each side of the road. Fortunately we had a flashlight that exposed the spider right before we walked into it. The children were terrified of the spider and walked around the trees to avoid this “monster.” When we returned to the house, I shared with the family Psalms 119:105, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I shared with them that just as our flashlight saved us from the spider’s web, God’s Word saves us from Satan’s webs. It is because of Satan’s webs that so many different beliefs and doctrines abound about the Bible. Satan has done his best to confuse people’s understanding of the Bible: not so our understanding of doctrine will be confused, for Satan knows we are not saved by doctrine but by God’s love and grace. Satan has worked hard to corrupt our understanding of God’s love and grace for he knows that is where salvation comes from and he does not want us to be saved. We needn’t worry. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible is the Same Holy Spirit that will teach it to us, if we just ask.

Why understanding the Scriptures in the light of the cross is important: 

Many people ignore the Bible and many of those who do read it, read it only out of curiosity as a fairy tail book or some science fiction novel. The Bible is more than just prophecy or ancient stories. It is a love letter from God Himself. The Bible helps us develop a loving relationship with our God who showed us on the cross that He loves us more than He loves life itself. See John 20:31 and 2 Timothy 3:15.

 

For Further Studies on the Scriptures

What is the origin of the Bible?                                                                                              

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT

What does Jesus call God’s word?                                                                                             

Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.  John 17:17 NLT

How much of the Bible is inspired?                                                                                     

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

Note: The Scriptures, and not family or church tradition tell us what is right or wrong.

What is the word of God to be to us?                                                                                       

Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.  Psalm 119:105 NLT

Note: God does not give us the Bible just to be a control freak or tyrant, anymore than the authors of a recipe book write in order to be control freaks or tyrants. The writers of the recipe know what it takes for their creation to turn out right, and God knows what it takes of our lives to turn out right.

What is the reason the Bible was written?                                                                              

But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.  John 20:31 NLT

How are we to study the Scriptures?                                                                                                             

He tells us everything over and over- one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!  Isaiah 28:10 NLT

Note: Our Bible beliefs or doctrines, come from comparing what the entire Bible says on the subject in order to get the big picture, instead of just getting our doctrine from one verse. For example, Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us the Spirit returns to God when we die, so many think that we go to heaven when we die. But if we take “a little here, and a little there,” we see in Job 27:3 that the spirit is simply our breath. So the big picture tells us our breath goes back to God, but nothing conscience returns to God till after the resurrection mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. There is more on this in the study about “Death in Light of the Cross.”

What do some do with God’s word?                                                                                     

speaking of these things in all of his [Paul] letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction2 Peter 3:16 NLT

What must we never do?                                                                                                         

 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,[a] 2 peter 1:20 NLT

Footnotes:

  1. 1:20 Or is a matter of one’s own interpretation.(Footnote Supplied from the New Living Translation.)

Note: We must let the Bible interpret itself and not make up our own interpretation.

Who will guide us in Bible Study?

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 NLT

How often should we study the Bible?                                                                                 

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 NLT

Note: The people of Berea searched the Scriptures every day, and did not just take Paul and Silas’ word for everything, but looked to the Scriptures for their source of truth. Again, we follow family and church traditions only as far as they go along with Scripture. Is it your desire to order your life in harmony with the Scriptures instead of the traditions of man?

 

Love And Obedience In Light Of The Cross – With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides- NLT here.

Love and Obedience

 

Brief Overview: The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Savior. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. (Ex. 20:1-17Ps. 40:78Matt. 22:36-40Deut. 28:1-14;Matt. 5:17-20Heb. 8:8-10John 15:7-10Eph. 2:8-101 John 5:3Rom. 8:34;Ps. 19:7-14.)

Why it is important to know the truth about love and obedience: The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.

Why it is important to know the truth about love and obedience in light of the cross: “It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” –Desire of Ages, Page 480.

 

Further study on Love and Obedience

 

What are God’s people to walk in?

How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.  I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning.  Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. 2 John 1:4-6 NLT

 

What warning is given about some Christians?

They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:5 NLT

 

What will some last day Christians do?

 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT

How are we saved?

So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.Romans 3:28 NLT

 

Does faith abolish the law?

 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.Romans 3:31

Faith without works is what?                                                                                               

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? James 2:17-20 NLT

Note: If a child who can’t swim has faith in their father they will jump in the pool when the father says, “jump in and I will catch you.” If the child does not have faith in their father, they will not obey. Likewise we show our faith by our good deeds and obedience. I will not lie on my tax returns because I have faith God will provide for me. I obey Him because I have faith. If I disobey Him, that shows Him I don’t really have faith.

How does faith work?                                                                                                            

What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Galatians 5:6 NLT

faith which worketh by love. Galatians 5:6 KJV

Is more required than “lip service”?                                                                                       

So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. Ezekiel 33:31 NLT

Who is fooled and who is blessed?    

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:22-25 NLT

Who receives salvation?                                                                                                       

In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. Hebrews 5:9 NLT

What did Jesus say we must do?                                                                                     

 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:16-17 NLT

What happens if we break even one commandment?                                                               

For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.  So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. James 2:10-12 NLT

Who are the wise and who are the foolish?                                                                         

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws. ’Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:21-27 NLT

What does Jesus say?                                                                                                              

“If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15 NLT

The Trinity In Light Of The Cross- With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

 

Brief overview: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4Matt. 28:192 Cor. 13:14Eph. 4:4-6;1 Peter 1:21 Tim. 1:17Rev. 14:7.)

God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father. (Gen. 1:1Rev. 4:111 Cor. 15:28John 3:161 John 4:81 Tim. 1:17Ex. 34:67John 14:9.)

God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (John 1:1-314Col. 1:15-19John 10:3014:9Rom. 6:232 Cor. 5:17-19John 5:22Luke 1:35Phil. 2:5-11Heb. 2:9-181 Cor. 15:34Heb. 8:12;John 14:1-3.)

God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:12Luke 1:354:18Acts 10:382 Peter 1:212 Cor. 3:18Eph. 4:1112Acts 1:8John 14:16-182615:2627;16:7-13.)

Why it is important to know the truth about the Trinity:

Some people make this teaching more intense and complicated than it really is. Some wonder how the Father , Son and Holy Spirit can all be three different Beings while just one God. It is really very simple. There is one Congress in the United States. Yet it has over 500 members. The Senator from Florida is a congressman, while the Senator from Hawaii is also. Still they make up one congress or one ruling entity. So there is one God or one ruling entity made up of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 1 john 4:8 tells us God is love. The Bible tells us love is being others centered as opposed to being self centered. If you think about it, there had to be a time in the universe when nothing else existed but God. I don’t know how long ago it was or how long it lasted, but my reason (which is subject to error) tells me at one point in time there had to be nothing but God. If God had been only one Being at that point in time He could not have been love, because love is being others centered, and He would have had only Himself to be centered on. But God has always been three Beings, each one centered upon the needs of the Others, therefore God has always been love. The Trinity or Godhead is the First family of the universe. They are a model of what are families can be.

Why it is important to understand the Trinity in light of the cross.

Understanding the trinity is crucial to understanding John 3:16.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT For years I just pictured Jesus coming to die for us and making all the sacrifices while God the Father just stayed up in heaven and watched from a distance. Then in the mid-1990s I got a phone call from my mother. A young friend of ours had died while waiting on a heart transplant. My mother was crying, telling me she had lived a full life so why couldn’t she have just given our young friend her heart? “No way!” I thought to myself. “You are my mother!” When I hung up the phone I had a clearer view of John 3:16 and what happened at the cross. God the Father was not just watching from a distance as His Son made all the sacrifices. It was actually God who was making the greater sacrifice. Many of us would rather suffer ourselves, than see a family member suffer.  Unless you understand the Trinity, and that there was a Father sacrificing not Himself, but His Son, you really can’t understand the cross.

 

Further Study on the Trinity

 

Who was present at the Baptism of Jesus?

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:16-17 NLT

Note: Here we see three distinct members of the Godhead, the Son Jesus, coming up from the water, The Holy Spirit descending like a dove, and the voice of the Father from heaven.

 Did Jesus have to submit His will to the Father?                                                              

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39 NLT

Does God want us all to be united as one as He and the Father are one, while we are still a multitude of Entities?                                                                                                     

   “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.  All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.  Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name;now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. John 17:9-10 NLT

Death In Light Of The Cross-With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable version of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

Death

Brief overview: Death is a state of unconscious sleep. The dead do not know anything at this time and are not awakened until the last trump at Christ’s second coming. See Ecclesiastes 9:5-6Job 14:121 Corinthians 15:51-551 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Why is it important to know the truth about Death:

The teaching that you don’t really die is a lie Satan started in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” By telling this lie Satan hoped to get Eve and all mankind to believe that there is really no consequence for disobeying God. He also wants us to believe that we are all immortal regardless if we have a relationship with God or not. This opens the door for spiritualism where people may actually be communicating with the devil and his angels, thinking they are speaking with their loved ones. Our salvation does not come from knowing what happens when we die. Our salvation is found alone in God’s love. However, no lie is ever harmless, and when Satan told the lie, “Ye shall not surely die”, not only was he lying but he was also calling God a liar. Not a safe path for us to follow.

 

Why understanding death in the light of the cross is important:

First of all if you don’t really die then Jesus did not really die for us and we still need a Savior. The lie that we don’t really die destroys the cross and everything Jesus endured and accomplished on it. If Jesus was not really tasting death likeHebrews 2:9 says He did, then we have just minimized the cross to a six hour pain endurance marathon.

I remember sitting in a funeral a while back for a little girl who was hit and killed by a car. Her mother sat on the front pew sobbing uncontrollably. Meanwhile the pastor talked about how happy the little girl and Jesus were right now up in heaven. Do you know how cruel that made Jesus look to the poor mother? Would Jesus tear a mother’s heart apart just to go have fun with her daughter? I think not! The little girl is resting in her grave and will be united with Jesus in heaven when the mother is reunited with her at the second coming.

 

For Further study on Death

 

 

What did Adam become?

Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7 NLT

Note: The KJV says man became a living soul. A living person is a soul. To be living you must have the combination of breath and a body. Breath + Body = “soul” or “person.” Without both the body and breath there is no soul or person. Just like a box made of wood and nails. The box is the combination of wood and nails. Take the nails away from the wood and you have no box. Take the breath away from the body and you have no soul or person.

Whose spirit returns to God?

For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.  Ecclesiastes 12:7 NLT

What is the Spirit?

As long as I live, while I have breath from God. Job 27:3 NLT

Note: The KJV says, “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, Job 27:3.  The NLT makes it clear that the spirit is simply our breath. So in Ecclesiastes 12:7 all that returns to God when we die is our breath. We are not conscious.

What does God take that turns the body to dust?

But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust.  Psalm 104:29 NLT

What age old question did Job ask?

“But when people die, their strength is gone.  They breathe their last, and then where are they? Job 14:10 NLT

What is the Bible answer?

people are laid to rest and do not rise again.  Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep.  Job 14:12 NLT

Do the dead know what happens to the living?

They never know if their children grow up in honor or sink to insignificance. Job 14:21 NLT

 

How much do the dead know?

The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.  Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NLT

 

What did Jesus call death?                                                                                                     

Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!”  They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.

 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. John 11:11-14 NLT

How long had Lazarus been dead?

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days.  John 11:17 NLT

Did Martha believe Lazarus was in heaven when he died?

“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” John 11:24 NLT

Was Lazarus called from heaven, hell or the grave?

Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” John 11: 43-44 NLT

 

When are the dead raised?                                                                                          

And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.  In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man.  Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. 1 Corinthians 15:16-23 NLT

 

When do we receive immortality?                                                                                  

   But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!  It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.  For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 NLT

 

Our hope and comfort:                                                                                                     

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have diedwill rise from their graves.  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.   1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NLT