Lesson 8 - Your Response to Christ

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We have seen that Christ has died for all. Therefore the possibility of sin being covered, the possibility of being in a right relationship with God, exists for all people. Yet, it is also true that not all will be in heaven.

Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and there be that find it."

In light of the above passage, it is evident that not all people will enter into heaven. In fact, the number will be few in comparison to those who do not enter in. Why are some allowed into heaven and some turned away? What is the requirement for entering heaven? We know it is not based on a person's goodness or badness, for we are ALL sinners in God's eyes. It is not based on how many righteous deeds a person has done in this life. It is not based on the family a person is born into. The Bible tells us that only those who come to God on His terms and accept God's payment for their sins will be accepted by God.

There are different ways in which the Bible labels those who have a right relationship with Christ and a guarantee of heaven. Note the various words used to describe salvation:

Acts 4:12
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be ."

Romans 5:10
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be by his life."

John 3:7
"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be ."

Matthew 10:32-33
"Whosoever therefore shall me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Romans 10:10
"For with the heart man unto righteousness; and with the mouth is made unto ."

1 John 5:1
"Whosoever that Jesus is the Christ is of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."

John 1:12
"But as many as him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that on his name:"

These terms and many others are used to show the complete commitment involved in becoming a Christian. In fact it is possible for you to think you are a Christian, but in reality not belong to Christ. True salvation is based not on our feelings or opinions, but rather on the Word of God. After all God is the only one that can be trusted in this matter!

Matthew 7:21
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Since true salvation is based on the Word of God, we need to be sure that we know what God says is necessary for salvation. It becomes very important for us to be sure of what God says will take place in a person's life to make him a child of God.

Acts 20:21
"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, toward God, and toward our Lord Jesus Christ."

This verse lists two ingredients of salvation: repentance and faith. These two things are necessary in our life for the death of Christ to become OUR PERSONAL PAYMENT for sin.

Our Lord considered repentance absolutely essential to salvation. The word repent is used over one hundred times in the Bible.

Luke 13:3
"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye , ye shall all likewise perish."

The other necessary ingredient is Faith. Faith is another important Bible word.

Ephesians 2:8
"For by grace are ye saved through ; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

In fact, Repentance and Faith go hand in hand. In this lesson we are going to look at these two important words and see how they work together.

Repentance

A. Five Reasons Why Repentance Is Important

John the Baptist began his public ministry by calling on men to repent.
Matthew 3:1-2
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Jesus also began His ministry by calling on men to repent.
Matthew 4:17
"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He directed His followers to preach what? Read Luke 24:36-53
Luke 24:47
"And that and remission of should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

What does God want all men to do?
2 Peter 3:9
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

What is God's command to all men everywhere?
Acts 17:30
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to : "

B. What is true Repentance?

Biblical repentance is four-fold.
Repentance cannot happen until a person recognizes the sinfulness of their own heart, which is in complete rebellion against God as an unsaved sinner. It then involves a change of mind that leads to changed attitudes, desires, and purpose.

Repentance involves a change of view about ourselves.
Romans 3:10
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not :"

Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned, and come of the glory of God;"

* Sin has many aspects (or faces). Sin is:

: Overstepping the law (missing the mark) - 1 John 3:4
: A departure from what is right - James 5:20
: Choosing to rule your own life apart from God - Ephesians 2:2
: lessness : Spiritual anarchy - Romans 5:13
: Insulting God, not believing He is trustworthy - I John 5:10
: Failure to meet God's standard - Romans 6:13
: Injustice, wickedness - Matthew 24:12

We need to recognize that the above words describe our fallen nature which separates us from God. Recognizing these truths about our human heart is necessary preparation for true repentance.

Repentance involves a change of mind about God.
The word "repent" in the New Testament means "to change one's mind or view about a thing."

Before someone is saved, he or she may think he is not so bad, but when we learn what the Bible says about God and sin, we find that God is a Holy God who hates sin. When a person sees himself as God sees him, he realizes the grossness of his sin and his total helplessness to change himself.

Repentance is a change of view with regards to sin, God, and self. Repentance not only causes us to see ourselves as sinners in the sight of God, but also causes us to see God as the only source of righteousness. He is the only one who can tell us with accuracy what is right.

Habakkuk 1:13
"Thou art of eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:"

Romans 2:2 "But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things."

Romans 3:4 "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."

Repentance is a change of feeling (attitude).
Sorrow for sin and desire for pardon are aspects of repentance.

Notice the intense emotion in David's prayer,

Psalm 51:1 "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions."

II Corinthians 7:9 "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing."

According to this verse what did sorrow bring about?

Repentance is a change of purpose.
This element implies a change of will, disposition, and purpose. This is the inward turning from sin.

This change of Purpose is seen by confessing our sins to God.
In the past we tried to ignore or hide our sin.
Is that possible according to Proverbs 15:3 ?
Psalm 38:18 "For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin."

According to this verse what does a person who is repentant do with their sin?

In fact, we could say that a person who is not willing to be honest about their sins is not repentant!

This change of Purpose is seen by forsaking sin.
Isaiah 55:7 "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

Proverbs 28:13 "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

Forsaking sin means to turn away from sin with NO intention of returning.

What does God promise?

Isaiah 44:22 "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee."

Hebrews 10:17 "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. "

This change of Purpose is seen by turning to God.
Every step unsaved men take is away from God. Turning from sin does not profit anything unless we turn to God.

I Thessalonians 1:9 "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;"

Paul rejoiced that the Thessalonians had turned TO God.

When Paul was giving his testimony before King Agrippa, he said that Jesus Christ had given him the task of turning men from darkness to light.

Acts 26:18 "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

C. Aspects of Repentance

Divine - Repentance is a gift of God.
Acts 11:18 "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
II Timothy 2:25 "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;"
Who gives the gift of repentance and forgiveness of sin according to Acts 5:30,31?

Human - There is the human aspect to repentance.
Read Acts 2:37-38, 41
After hearing the Gospel message, what did man have the need to do? (verse 38)

D. Results of Repentance

Repentance causes rejoicing in heaven.
Read Luke 15:7 and Luke 15:10 . What brings about joy in heaven according to these verses?

Repentance brings pardon and forgiveness of sin.
Read Isaiah 55:7 and Acts 3:19 , Repentance brings about what?

The Holy Spirit indwells those who repent and believe.
Read Romans 8:9 . Paul speaking about a repentent sinner says,
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

The importance of repentance is shown by the prominence it is given in the Word of God. It cannot be emphasized too much. It is not something we give to God, but an attitude of heart necessary to true salvation.

Faith

Read Acts 2:14-40 . Peter called upon the Jews to see Christ not as a mere man or an imposter, but as the promised Messiah and Saviour. All through the book of Acts, the disciples reasoned and persuaded the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

A man's life is governed by what he believes in, what he puts his faith and trust in. His religion is determined by the person or philosophy in which he believes. Let's now consider faith as another element of conversion.

A. Faith Defined

Faith is complete confidence that a person or thing will function according to promise.
Faith in Almighty God causes us to claim His promises and brings the mighty power and resources of God into contact with man's needs and problems.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings salvation to the sinner through Christ's substitutionary sacrifice, clothing the sinner in Christ's own righteousness, and giving the sinner perfect standing before a Holy God. II Corinthians 5:21: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

B. The Source of Faith

What is the source of Faith?

It is the combined Work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

God the Father gives Faith.
In Ephesians 2:8 what is Faith "it is the of ."

In Romans 12:3 who bestows on "every man the measure of faith?"

God the Son perfects Faith.
In Hebrews 12:2 who are we to look to for faith?

God the Holy Spirit administers faith.
God the Holy Spirit administers or directs the gift of faith.
Galatians 5:22
1 Corinthians 12:9

C. The Importance of Faith

Many men seek to please God. But what is necessary to please God?

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Matthew 8:10, 13
Mark 10:46-51
What is the important element in these Scripture passages?

D. The Meaning of Faith

First, we need to distinguish between some terms that are misunderstood.
The word "belief" is often used in the same sense that "faith" is, but many times it serves to show only one element of faith, namely the intellectual part of man. In other words, a man can know some facts in his head. That is a belief. But it becomes faith when he puts that belief into action. For example, a person may know all the facts about airplanes and really believe that they will fly. But that belief becomes faith when he gets on the plane and trusts that it will get him to his destination. That is belief in action.
"Hope" has to do exclusively with the future.
"Faith" has to do with the past, the present, and the future.
The term "the faith" means the sum total of Christian Doctrine as contained in the Scripture. Read:
Acts 6:7
1 Timothy 4:1, 6:10
Jude 3
"Trust" is a characteristic Old Testament word meaning the same as the New Testament "faith."

What is faith?
In conversion or salvation, faith is the turning of the soul to God as repentance is the turning of the soul from sin.
The Scriptures represent faith as an act of the heart. Therefore, it involves an intellectual, an emotional, and a willful change.

E. The Three Aspects of Faith

The Intellectual Element - This element includes belief in the Bible as the revelation of God. The Bible contains the truth about man's sinfulness, the redemption provided in Christ, the conditions of salvation, and the promises of God.
Romans 10:14 "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Notice the order. . .Calling brought about by Belief, Belief brought about by Hearing, and Hearing brought about by a Preacher telling the gospel.

Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

According to this verse what must you listen to in order to have faith?

Psalm 9:10
"And they that thy name will put their in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not them that seek thee."

Real Faith is brought about by belief in the Scriptural evidence.

The Emotional Element - The emotional element of faith is the awakening of the soul to its personal need and to the redemption provided in Christ.
Mark 12:32-34
"And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to him with the heart, and with the understanding, and with the soul, and with the strength, and to his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question."

Give the important aspect of faith in verse 33.

The Volitional (Willful or Choice) Element - This element of faith is the logical outgrowth of the intellectual and emotional.
If a man or a woman accepts the revelation of God and His salvation as true, and comes to love the God of the Bible and be thankful for what Christ has done for them, they will logically go on to choose Christ for themselves.
The volitional element includes the surrender of the heart to God and to His control. It will cause a person to make a willful choice of receiving Christ as the Lord of their life.
The words believe, trust, or faith are used often in the sense of surrender and commitment. The Scripture frequently emphasizes that man should count the cost before deciding to follow Christ.
Read Luke 14:26-33
What is your conclusion?

F. Faith Produces Salvation

How then does faith produce Salvation?

We must know what God says in the Bible.
Faith is based on the knowledge of the Word of God and makes us move to ask Christ into our life.
Romans 10:14 "How then shall they on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

Faith is accepting as true what God says in His Word. As we see the facts of the Word of God, it will cause us to act differently in our life. In regards to our sinfulness, we will confess to God our sin and our hopelessness. In light of the offer of salvation through Christ, we will ask God for this gift that we can never earn.

We must accept the Word of God as true.
Psalm 119:160 "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."

John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

Knowledge of the Word of God is essential, but we must believe it to be true before we will act upon. it.

We must personally receive that which we know and accept as true.
Knowing the claims of the Word of God and accepting them as true will profit nothing if we are not led to receive for ourselves the object of our faith, Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 4:2 "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."
It is possible to know that Christ is Divine and still reject him as Saviour and Lord. We can acknowledge the Scriptural claim of Christ (admit He is the Messiah of the Bible) without surrendering our hearts and wills to Him as Saviour.

Faith demands an earnest response of our will to what we know in our heads and accept in our hearts as true. It is the soul reaching out by an act of the will to receive Christ in whom we believe.
True faith always involves a decision of the will. Knowing that Jesus is able to save and that He came to be the Saviour of the world, we must personally respond to these facts.
John 1:12
"But as many as him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"

Romans 10:13
"For whosoever shall upon the name of the Lord shall be . "

Marriage provides a good illustration of faith. A good marriage is the culmination of an extended process of learning about someone, responding to him or her, and then making a commitment.

INTELLECTUAL ASPECT OF YOUR FAITH

Courtship may be compared to faith's first element: knowledge. It is a time for getting to know each other, for seeing whether the other person possesses those characteristics that will be good in the marriage. It is a very important step. If the other person is not of good character or cannot be trusted, there will be trouble later on.

So it is with Christ. You must know who He is - God come in the flesh. You must understand why He needed to come - Your sinfulness and inability to make yourself right with God. Do you understand and believe that Jesus Christ is the only payment God the Father will accept for your sin?

EMOTIONAL ASPECT OF FAITH

The second stage is comparable to the second element in faith: the movement of the heart. This corresponds to falling in love, which is quite obviously an important step beyond mere knowledge.

So it is with Christ. A man or woman who knows of their own sinfulness before God and realizes the great expense that Christ went to in order for your sins to be covered must then desire to belong to him more than anything else. Do you desire to be forgiven of your sin and have Christ as the ruler of your life?

VOLITIONAL ASPECT OF FAITH

Finally, there is the point of verbalized commitment contained in the marriage ceremony. At this point the couple promises to live together and love each other regardless of what their future circumstances might be. They seal these vows in a public ceremony to let the world know of their commitment to each other.

So it is in receiving Christ. Many know who Jesus is and realize they need a saviour from sin. Some have even gone as far as to desire to belong to Christ no matter what the cost. But the final aspect must also be present: Receiving Christ or Calling on His Name. This is a once for all commitment that will be a life changing experience. Just as you do not ever need to get married again, so it is true you do not receive Christ but one time. As you will never forget such a momentous event as your marriage, so you will never forget the experience of receiving Christ once and for all as your ONLY hope of heaven and forgiveness. Will you now and here admit your sinfulness and ask Christ into your life as the Lord of your life?

Jesus Christ has been presented to you as the one that died to pay for your sins. You must make a choice. Will you go on in your sin and ignore Him? Or will you allow Him to come into your life and be your Lord and Saviour?

Someone has said, "There is a God-shaped vacuum within every person which only God can fill." This is true. God made us with certain deep inner needs which only He can meet as He dwells in us. The Most Important Question is: "What will you do with Jesus Christ now that you know he is the only Saviour?"

Are you willing to turn from sin and receive Christ as payment for your sin and allow Him to rule over your life from this time forward?

This is the last in this series of Bible Studies. We have another set of studies that we would be glad to send you to help you learn more of the Bible and Jesus Christ. Please indicate your desire for another course, and we will gladly send it to you. To receive the follow-up course, please give us your name and mailing address (NOTE: Must be a US Address):

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Here are the past lessons for your review:
Lesson 1 - Where Do We Find Truth?
Lesson 2 - Is The Bible the Word of God?
Lesson 3 - Creation and Fall of Man
Lesson 4 - Man's Problems
Lesson 5 - Man's Way
Lesson 6 - God's Way
Lesson 7 - What Christ Has Done


Instructions

Welcome to the final lesson in this Series of eight Bible Studies! Remember, throughout each lesson there will be an opportunity for you to answer a question or fill in the blank. We encourage you to look up each verse in your own personal Bible so you can see that we are not taking the verses out of context or misquoting them, however, we have also included those verses in this lesson for your convenience. When Bible verses are referenced you may click on the reference to read that verse. Each verse is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.

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