INTRODUCTION Defining God’s grace has caused divisions in Christian churches. If you get grace wrong, then you will not properly understand God’s love and salvation. What does the word grace mean? Take a moment right now and right down your answer. To understand what it means to be a Lutheran Christian, you need to understand this word.
What does the Bible say about the natural condition of all people? <ul><li>Romans 3:23 </li></ul><ul><li>for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, </li></ul>ALL PEOPLE ARE SINNERS. Name some differences between American people and German people. There may be many differences, but they have one thing in common — SIN.
<ul><li>Psalm 51:5 </li></ul><ul><li>Surely I was sinful at birth, </li></ul><ul><li>sinful from the time my mother conceived me. </li></ul>PEOPLE ARE CONCEIVED AND BORN INTO SIN. Agree/Disagree: Children are born neutral. They are a clean slate. They don’t begin to sin until they follow the poor example of their parents and others.
Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. ON THEIR OWN PEOPLE CAN ONLY SIN. A two year old cannot pick up a 200 lbs. weight. He can try all he wants, but he will never budge it. No matter how hard he tries, on his own, a sinful human being can do nothing to please God.
Romans 8:7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so . SIN MAKES US GOD’S ENEMIES. What’s the relationship between a Taliban fighter and a U.S. soldier? They are enemies. They hate each other. That’s the way things are between people and God because of sin.
ALL people are sinners. They are born this way. They are incapable of doing good, and can only do evil. This makes them God’s enemies.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Evaluate: “People are basically good. It would be unfair for God to hold the few sins they do commit against them.”
STUDYING GOD’S WORD What do people deserve from God because of their sins?
<ul><li>Acts 5:3-5 </li></ul><ul><li>3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. </li></ul>
THEY DESERVE TO BE PUNISHED NOW . Sin has consequences. If you murder someone, you will go to prison because you deserve this for your crime. For our crimes against God, we deserve his punishment right now.
<ul><li>Romans 6:23 </li></ul><ul><li>For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. </li></ul>THEY DESERVE TO DIE. Death is ugly and it often involves pain and suffering. The rotting and decaying of the body happens to all people. At funerals people often ask why. Can you answer that question?
<ul><li>Matthew 25:41, 46 </li></ul><ul><li>41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment , but the righteous to eternal life.” </li></ul>
THEY DESERVE TO SUFFER ETERNALLY IN HELL. When you disobey your parents they may take away your TV privileges for a while. But the punishment of hell lasts forever . Can you describe what hell is like?
For their sins people deserve to be punished by God. They deserve to die and to suffer eternally in hell.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or disagree and why? The Bible tells us that God is loving. This means that God would never actually send anyone to hell. He just says that to scare us into being good.
STUDYING GOD’S WORD What can people do to solve this great problem?
Ephesians 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, PEOPLE CAN DO NOTHING TO SAVE THEMSELVES. A corpse can do nothing. It just lies there. In the same way sinful people can do nothing to save themselves from God’s anger.
<ul><li>Romans 3:20 </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. </li></ul>PEOPLE CAN DO NOTHING TO GET RID OF SIN. We can’t make up for our sins by doing good. That’s like trying to empty the Pacific Ocean with a thimble. It won’t work, but will only tire us out
People can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to solve the problem . Left on their own they are doomed.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Evaluate: “I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve lived a pretty good life. I don’t cheat or steal and I try not to hurt anybody. I’m sure God will let me into heaven.” Agree or disagree and why? Jesus proved that it is possible for a person to keep the commandments if he really tries.
STUDYING GOD’S WORD What did God do to solve the problem?
<ul><li>John 3:16 </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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 . </li></ul>HE SENT HIS SON TO SAVE US . Why do you think some people hold up signs with John 3:16 on them at major sporting events?
<ul><li>1 John 4:9,10 </li></ul><ul><li>9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. </li></ul>
HE SACRIFICED HIS SON TO PAY FOR OUR SINS . When you have a debt the debt must be paid off. No one will simply cancel it. God paid our debt of sin with the blood of his Son.
God sent his one and only Son to take all our sins away.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or disagree and why? Jesus died to save all who believe.
CHRISTIAN VOCABULARY Grace God’s undeserved love for sinners. HYMNOLOGY: By Grace I’m Saved (CW 384)
Romans 11:35 “ Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING WE HAVE DONE FOR HIM. Sometimes we say to someone who has done something for us, “I owe you a favor.” God owes us sinful human beings nothing.
<ul><li>Ephesians 2:8 </li></ul><ul><li>For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— </li></ul>BECAUSE OF HIS UNDERSERVED LOVE FOR US SINNERS. Imagine telling a poor, drunk, diseased beggar lying in the gutter who had nothing to give you in return, that you would send your only son to take his place in the gutter.
<ul><li>1 Timothy 2:4 </li></ul><ul><li>who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. </li></ul>BECAUSE HE WANTS ALL PEOPLE TO BE SAVED. A mother wants only good things for her children, and is often willing to sacrifice her own life to protect them. How much more so does our God.
God does this not because we deserve it, but because he is gracious and doesn’t want anyone to go to hell.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or disagree and why? Some people are more deserving of God’s grace than others.
CLOSING PRAYER Dear Lord, We realize that we act and think in such a way that we are your enemies. We are sinners that are desperately lost and deserving of hell. Dear God, you did not give us what our sins deserved, but instead gave up your son Jesus to live and die in our place. He was punished so we would not be. Strengthen us to change our thoughts and actions to reflect your love and forgiveness for us in Jesus. Amen.
INTRODUCTION One night, while Luther was studying in the Black tower of Wittenberg, he came across the words of Romans 1:17 - ”The righteous shall live by faith.” The Holy Spirit used these words to change Luther’s life forever. He was convinced because of what he was taught by the Catholic Church, that he had to live up to God’s demands to earn his way to heaven. This passage led him to understand it was not his own goodness that saved him, but the righteousness of God that was his through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is a gift of God. Today, we will discover just like Luther, why salvation comes to us by faith alone.
STUDYING GOD’S WORD What does not qualify as “faith”?
<ul><li>Matthew 14:31 </li></ul><ul><li>Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” </li></ul>
FAITH IS NOT DOUBTING – What if your parents offered to help you with a report or science project, but then you remembered how long its been since your parents have been in a science class? Perhaps you didn’t get a good grade on the last report they helped you with and then you begin to doubt their abilities and whether they can help you at all. Well, your parents can help you, but you aren’t showing faith in their promise or abilities.
<ul><li>Matthew 8:26 </li></ul><ul><li>He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. </li></ul>FAITH IS NOT FEAR - When my child has faith in me to catch them when they jump in the pool, they just jump out to me. They aren’t afraid of the water being over their heads or the possibility of drowning.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. FAITH IS NOT A GENERAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD - There is a big difference in just “knowing” about something and actually “believing” in something. The best way to explain it might be knowing is “head knowledge” and believing is a “heart knowledge”.
Faith does not fear, doubt or have a mere head knowledge of God.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or disagree and why? Everyone who knows about God and His Word will be saved. Evaluate: “I must not have faith, because I feel doubts and fears all the time.”
Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. FAITH TAKES PLACE IN THE HEART - Agree or disagree and why? If you have a heart transplant from an unbeliever you will not have faith. What does God mean by “with your heart”? Not talking about the heart as a beating organ.
Romans 3:22a This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference ,
FAITH IS BELIEVING IN JESUS AS OUR SAVIOR - Have you ever told others something hard to believe just because you heard it from a reliable source and weren’t even an eye witness? God is such a reliable source even though we didn’t get to meet Jesus or see him die. We believe that he died for our sins and rescued us from eternal death and hell.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. FAITH IS BEING CERTAIN OF WHAT WE DO NOT SEE - If your friend said that they are a perfect shot and can hit the bulls eye every time then split the arrow of the last shot because they are so precise. You might say. “I’ve got to see it to believe it”. Now if your friend had no reason to lie and you could trust him absolutely without seeing it, that is blind faith. We can trust Jesus.
Faith is believing in my heart that Jesus Christ is my Savior even though I cannot see him. HYMNOLOGY: Faith Is a Living Power from Heaven (CW 404)
STUDYING GOD’S WORD Why is faith the key to salvation?
Philippians 3:8-9 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
THROUGH FAITH WE RECEIVE RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD Imagine your teacher demanding that you get 100% or you will fail the entire course. Now when you fall short, your teacher gives your grade to someone else and gives you what you didn’t deserve. By faith, we are given the righteousness God demands even though we don’t deserve it.
<ul><li>Romans 4:23-24 </li></ul><ul><li>23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. </li></ul>
THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS WE ARE CREDITED RIGHTEOUSNESS This teaching was hard for Martin Luther to understand. He thought that he had to earn God’s righteousness. God gives it to us as a credit through faith in Jesus. Jesus made good on our debt of sin through his body and blood.
Faith is the key to salvation, because through faith in Jesus we are credited with the righteousness God demands.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or Disagree and why? Christ’s redemption is worthless without faith .
STUDYING GOD’S WORD Can we choose to come to faith?
John 15:16a You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
WE CANNOT CHOOSE TO HAVE FAITH, WE ARE CHOSEN - How likely is it that if a dead person made a choice to live, that he would start living? The Bible tells us that we are dead spiritually. We cannot choose to believe and expect to then begin believing. Jesus chooses us and gives us spiritual life.
<ul><li>1 Corinthians 12:3b </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. </li></ul>WE CAN’T BELIEVE IN JESUS UNLESS THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS IN US - Talk about the specific work of the Father, the Son and now elaborate on the specific work of the Holy Spirit.
We cannot chose to come to faith, rather God chooses us and the Holy Spirit works faith in us.
CHRISTIAN VOCABULARY Faith - trust in God and his promises Righteousness - the holiness and perfection that God demands of us. Credit - being given something that you didn’t earn or deserve
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Which is the most important? T he fact that God created you, Jesus redeemed you, or the Holy Spirit brought you to faith. Agree or disagree and why? I am saved the minute that I decide to accept to call Jesus into my heart.
STUDYING GOD’S WORD What does God use to bring you to faith?
Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ .
GOD USES HIS WORD - SPECIFICALLY, THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST – God doesn’t talk to people from the clouds nor does he enter into hearts by means of surgery or the blood stream. God uses his Word, the message of Jesus, to work faith. If you aren’t hearing the gospel, faith cannot be produced.
<ul><li>1 Peter 3:21 </li></ul><ul><li>and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, </li></ul>
GOD BRINGS US SAVING FAITH THROUGH BAPTISM - In the sacrament of Baptism, the gospel message of Jesus is accompanied with an outward thing that we can see and feel. The water of baptism does nothing in and of itself. When connected to the Word and promises of God, the Holy Spirit uses baptism to create saving faith.
God brings us to faith through the message of Christ in His Word and through the sacrament of Baptism
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or disagree and why? We have the power to keep our faith strong.
CLOSING PRAYER Dear Lord, We realize that we act and think in such a way that we are your enemies. We are sinners that are desperately lost and deserving of hell. You did not give us what our sins deserved, but instead gave up your son Jesus to live and die in our place. He was punished so we would not be. Strengthen us to change our thoughts and actions to reflect your love and forgiveness for us in Jesus. Amen .
INTRODUCTION In Martin Luther’s day, there was a real shortage of Bibles because it cost too much to produce them by hand. The Bible that Luther used was in the library and it was chained to the desk so that it couldn’t be checked out.
The other problem was that the Bible was only written in Latin and the language of the people was German. Most people couldn’t read at all so they had to depend on the priest for everything. Give some reasons why this would have a negative impact on the spiritual conditions of the day.
STUDYING GOD’S WORD Who is the author of the Scriptures?
<ul><li>1 Thessalonians 2:13 </li></ul><ul><li>And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe . </li></ul>
THE BIBLE IS NOT THE WORD OF MEN BUT THE WORD OF GOD - When you think about man’s words, they are pretty predictable and they are changing all the time. When you think of God’s Word, remember that “God’s ways are higher than man’s ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts” God’s Word does not change.
<ul><li>2 Timothy 3:16 </li></ul><ul><li>All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, </li></ul>
ALL OF THE SCRIPTURES ARE WRITTEN BY GOD - When someone has been under water too long and is no longer breathing, you do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Your breath fills their lungs. God breathed into these men to write his word. This was not with the literal breath, but the Holy Spirit filled their minds and hearts to write every word. (VERBAL INSPIRATION)
<ul><li>2 Peter 1:20-21 </li></ul><ul><li>20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. </li></ul>
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT USED MEN AS INSTRUMENTS TO WRITE THE SCRIPTURES - This isn’t like a secretary taking notes from her boss and going back and rewriting the letter. God used their individual talents and writing styles while making sure that they wrote exactly what he wanted them to. ( VERBAL INSPIRATION)
God is the author of the Scriptures. God inspired men to write every single Word.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or disagree and why? The Bible contains the Word of God . Evaluate: “I believe that the Bible is God’s Word because it makes so much sense.”
STUDYING GOD’S WORD Why is it important to know that God is the author of the Scriptures?
John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth . I CAN BE SURE EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE IS TRUE - If you look at your school books, you probably have books that have been revised, edited and you have the latest edition. The reason that they have to do that is because of mistakes, inaccuracies, contradictions and new things need to be included. Not so with God’s Word. It is all true and unchanging.
<ul><li>Numbers 23:19 </li></ul><ul><li>God is not a man, that he should lie, </li></ul><ul><li>nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? </li></ul>
I CAN BE SURE THAT ALL THE PROMISES WILL BE KEPT - Have you ever had a friend make a promise that you are going to a movie, or out to the mall and then they didn’t keep their promise or did something with someone else? Didn’t you feel betrayed? Well you can be sure God will never betray you. He keeps all of His promises that he has given in the Bible. As God he can’t break a promise.
It is important to know because we can be sure that God will keep all of his promises because the Scriptures are all true.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Evaluate: A friend of yours insists that the Bible does not have to be correct in areas of science or history as long as it’s correct about things regarding God and His promises?
How can you tell if it is from man or from God? (put God or man in the blank) ___ The way to heaven is a free gift given to you through faith in Jesus. ___ You have to figure out what to believe and what not to believe in the Bible. ___ Getting to heaven is a life long process of doing the best you can.
___ Getting to heaven is a life long process of doing the best you can. ___Jesus hates your sin, but he loves you so much he willing died for you. ___ Every religion ultimately leads you on a different path to the same place. ( Notice that man focuses on what YOU have to do , God focuses on what HE did for you .)
STUDYING GOD’S WORD What are the two main messages of the Scriptures?
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
ONE OF THE MAIN MESSAGES IN THE BIBLE IS THE LAW - There are many laws at school. No running in the halls, no weapons allowed, no speeding in the parking lot, no cheating, etc. These protect students and help to keep order. God has his own set of laws for our lives which are summarized for us in the Ten Commandments.
<ul><li>Galatians 1:11-12 </li></ul><ul><li>11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. </li></ul>
THE OTHER MAIN MESSAGE IS THE GOSPEL - Think of a magic motion baseball card. At one angle the player is pitching. At another angle he is swinging a bat. It depends on how you look at it. Both messages are in the Bible.
The two main messages of the Scriptures are the Law and the Gospel.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or Disagree and why? The only two teachings of the Bible that I need to know are the Law and the Gospel. HYMNOLOGY How Precious is the Book Divine (CW 284)
STUDYING GOD’S WORD What is the main purpose of the Scriptures?
<ul><li>Romans 6:23a </li></ul><ul><li>For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord . </li></ul>THE LAW TELLS US THE CONSEQUENCE OF SIN - Just like there is a consequence for disobeying the laws of society, there is also a consequence when we disobey God’s laws. That is we will die & go to hell.
<ul><li>John 20:31 </li></ul><ul><li>But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. </li></ul>THE SCRIPTURES LEAD US TO BELIEVE IN JESUS - Many books were written to tell people how to invest, eat right etc. The Scriptures were written for one purpose: to lead us to believe in Jesus
<ul><li>Romans 15:4 </li></ul><ul><li>For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. </li></ul>SCRIPTURES ENCOURAGE US IN OUR DAILY LIFE - Drivers ed. is no fun but you know what happens at the end. You get your license, freedom, etc. Life is hard, but heaven is the end.
The main purpose is to tell us the reality of sin and our need for Jesus who opens the door to heaven.
CHRISTIAN VOCABULARY Scriptures - the word means “Writings ” Verbal Inspiration - God caused men to write the Bible using the very thoughts and words he wanted them to. Prophet - One who speaks God’s Word to God’s people Gospel - the “good news” that Jesus is our Savior from sin
STUDYING GOD’S WORD How do I treat the Scriptures since it is God’s Word?
<ul><li>Deuteronomy 4:2 </li></ul><ul><li>Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. </li></ul>
AVOID ADDING TO OR SUBTRACTING FROM IT - Imagine if I was going to make you some fresh lemonade but I subtracted sugar from the recipe and I added boiling water instead of icy cold water. What would that lemonade taste like? Why? You ruin God’s Word when you add to or subtract from it. Leave it alone or suffer the consequences.
<ul><li>2 Peter 3:16b </li></ul><ul><li>He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. </li></ul>
AVOID CHANGING THE MEANING - Usually people distort things for no good purpose. A bank robber will change his appearance by covering his face so that he can’t be recognized. People who change the meaning of God’s Word are up to no good. The devil gets them to do this to try to keep people from learning the truth about their salvation.
I will avoid adding or subtracting from Scriptures or change the meaning in any way.
GOD’S WORD IN MY LIFE Agree or disagree and why? Some of the teachings of the Bible are out of date like no sex before marriage, same sex relationships, Christianity is the only way to heaven, etc. These teachings no longer apply to our society.
CLOSING PRAYER Dear Lord, We thank you for giving us the Scriptures in a language that we can understand and read. Unfortunately, our sinful nature gets bored with your Word and doesn’t like to take any time reading or studying it. Help us to take advantage of every opportunity you give us to study and memorize your Word. We know that through the Scriptures alone you strengthen our faith and we grow in the knowledge of your love for us in Jesus. Your Scriptures open our eyes to the plan you have for us in heaven. We praise you for giving us your Scriptures. Amen.