Receiving Christ

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ReceivingChrist.pdf (47 KB)

The phrase has become one of the most familiar in contemporary evangelical Christianity, but what does it mean?  In most evangelical groups it has come to mean a personal response to the gospel.  In evangelistic meetings or personal evangelism the enquirer is encouraged to make a response to a small subset of Bible doctrines often referred to as the gospel.  These are sometimes reduced to 4 steps, the concept being that agreement with these truths and the praying of a simple prayer of confession and commitment effects a transaction in which the enquirer ‘receives Christ’.  I came this way, as have many thousands of others.  It was a starting place and not to be dishonoured.  Every genuine response to God is of vital importance and not to be mocked.

It may come as a surprise to some reading this that this concept of ‘the gospel’ and of ‘receiving Christ’ was the product of the evangelistic campaigns of the 20th Century.  This pattern of evangelism has no roots in the history of the Church as we read in the Acts, nor is it in any other part of the New Testament.  “But it can be a real help” says the objector.  Yes, it may.  The purpose of these thoughts is not to undermine or attack any.  My anxieties lie in the fact that counsellors or personal workers may ‘go through the motions’ and then declare that the seeker has ‘received Christ’.  This then becomes like a Catholic sacrament which is effectual as long as it is in accordance with a pattern.

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The Old Testament’s Hidden Baptisms

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otbaptisms.pdf (435 KB)

In a series of posts to a forum on Ron wrote about the “The Old Testament's Hidden Baptisms” with a view to trying to discover what the word 'baptism' means by just using the scriptures. Having re­discovered the meaning of the word 'baptism' he would then go on to see how this fits in to a definition of 'baptism in the Spirit'?

This PDF contains the extracts only to do with the “The Old Testament's Hidden Baptisms”, including:

  • The Flood
  • The Crossing of the Red Sea
  • Naaman's Baptism
  • Isaiah's Baptism
  • Ezekiel's Baptism

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Can Anyone Tell Me What Heaven is Really Like?

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heaven.pdf (43 KB)

You don't have to read far into the Bible before you meet the word 'heaven'. The first chapter has seven separate references to 'heaven'.  But where is it and what is it?  The first reference appears to add to the confusion as it literally reads "God created 'both heavens' and the earth".  Both heavens? Two heavens? How many heavens are there? Well, the romantic may say he is in the 'seventh heaven' but the Bible makes reference to three.  Modern commentators sometimes say that the Hebrews believed in a heaven and earth of three concentric spheres but that is because modern commentators think that ancient people were too unsophisticated to speak in pictures.  Their comments tell us more about modern arrogance than ancient naiveté.  We might as well conclude that the 21st Century man who says ‘the sun rises at 5.30’ thinks that the earth is flat and that the sun is doing the moving.

The Hebrew word for heaven means something that is "above" and is a relative term.  (The Greek word for 'heaven' has the same kind of etymology.) Consequently there is a 'heaven' above the earth where the sparrows fly, and there is a 'heaven' above that where the stars shine. (Gen 1:16, 20)  And above (or beyond) that a third!  The imagery is of a place beyond man's reach.  Modern scientific technology may have taken man through the sparrows' heaven and into the starry heavens (or to the moon, as a start) but the third heaven still remains above, beyond his reach. 

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The Word Became Flesh

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Godhead.pdf (51 KB)

How can the creature search out the Creator?
How shall the finite describe the Infinite?
How can Man know God?
The answer to these questions is more simple than might at first appear; God has chosen to reveal Himself.  Mankind does not need to remain in ignorance of God.  Finite creatures can know the unknowable.  There are many things that man can know about God, because God has revealed them.  If God had remained silent, man would have remained ignorant.  God has revealed Himself in nature, although that is now a very imperfect revelation.  God has revealed himself through the Holy Scriptures, although even that is a very incomplete revelation.  God has fully revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

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methuselah.pdf (150 KB)

Some notes on Methuselah:

Means: When he dies it will come  or (He dies, there is a sending forth)

• “When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah.” (Genesis 5:21)
• The flood was coming because of men’s evil… “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart  was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
• “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)
• And… “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:11)

Enoch was 65 when Methuselah was born. (Genesis 5:21)
Enoch was 365 when taken to heaven. (Genesis 5:23)
Methuselah was 187 when Lamech was born. (Genesis 5:25)
Lamech 182 when Noah was born. (Genesis 5:28-­29)
Lamech was 777 when he died. (Genesis 5:31)
Methuselah 969 when he died. (Genesis 5:27)
Noah was 600 when the flood came. (Genesis 7:11)

Noah was 600 when Methuselah died (969 – 182 – 187 = 600).
[182 + 187 = 369, 969 – 369 = 600]
Noah was 600 when the flood came, (Genesis 7:11) the same year Methuselah died.

• Methuselah was the oldest man in the Bible, even Adam died younger at 930 year old. (Genesis 5:5). This shows God’s grace and he withholds the judgment for as long as possible.
• Jewish writers say that Methuselah died just 7 days before the flood…
• “And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were on the earth.” (Genesis 7:10)
• If his name was prophetic God made sure it referred to himself and not his father Enoch by removing him from the the earth. (Genesis 5:23 & Hebrews 11:5).
• “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8)
• Methuselah lived for almost 1000 years, he was a symbol of God judgment and his grace.
• “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (II Peter 3:8, KJV)
• “For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (II Corinthians 6:2, RSV)

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A Study of the Book of Galatians

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galatians.pdf (172 KB)

Les Wheeldon's study of the book of Galatians is a 31 page document which looks at the letter as a whole noting the following structure:

  • Gal 1:6-12 – His purpose in writing: To combat the corruption of the Galatian believers from the simplicity of the gospel.
  • Gal 1:13-24 – Paul's testimony: Salvation from the emptiness of man centred religion.
  • Gal 2 – Paul's authority: The gospel he preached and his relationship with the other apostles.
  • Gal 3 – Blessing and curse: The cursed emptiness of self effort  compared with the blessedness of a life of faith in the power of the spirit.
  • Gal 4 – Man's infancy:  Life under the law, compared with the glory of the new covenant that makes us sons of God.
  • Gal 5 – The choice: Spirit or flesh, a life of love or a life of sin.
  • Gal 6 – The freedom to serve: Free indeed at last, and truly free.
  • Gal 6:11-18 – Paul's passionate appeal: Paul is consumed with the cross and its effect on his life.

Can you think of a book or a sermon that has changed your life?  I do not mean  influenced your life, I really mean changed you.  These 6 little chapters have that power, to transform you and your whole approach to Christ and christian life.  This little book can open up  a world of love, joy and peace in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Old Things Have Passed Away, Behold, All Things Are Become New

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allnew.pdf (676 KB)

In a series of posts to a forum on Ron Bailey wrote about the “Baptism in the Spirit”, this study contains some of extracts from those posts.

In his introduction Ron writes, "In this study we will try to build 'from the ground' up, rather than reacting to contemporary views or definitions of the 'Baptism in the Holy Spirit'. Suppose you were in a closed country with no access  to denominational or historical sources. Your only source is the scripture which you 'search diligently' to know what Christ expects of you and what you may expect of Him; this is my attempt  to answer the last half of that search."

This study covers:

  • The Old Testament's Hidden Baptisms
    • The Flood
    • The Crossing of the Red Sea
    • Naaman's Baptism
    • Isaiah's Baptism
    • Ezekiel's Baptism
  • The Jewish Baptism of Proselytes
  • John Baptist's Testimony
  • The forgotten baptism
  • New Testament use of the word
  • What really happened at Cornelius' place

I hope you enjoy it.


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