Do Real Christians Doubt?

  • Psalm 73 – the doubting can be seen at the beginning, while he simultaneously follows God (e.g. 73:13).
  • Matt. 11:2-19 – John the Baptist doubts Jesus while in prison, but Jesus commends him
  • Mark 9:24-27 – Jesus heals the son of a man who says, “I believe, help my unbelief”
  • Matthew 17:20 (and similar places) – Jesus speaks of needing faith that is only the size of a mustard seed (which is extremely small)
  • Matt. 28:17; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:38; John 20:27 – Doubting occurs in all 4 gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection – note that this was doubting by those closest to Jesus, the very people who would shepherd his church when He’s gone! (also, as an aside, I find this a remarkable defense of the truthfulness of Jesus’ resurrection: no one making up a Jesus-resurrection story inserts so much doubt into Jesus’ closest comrades!)
  • Acts 12:6-17 – the very people who prayed for Peter’s release didn’t believe he could actually be released!
  • Jude 1:22 – “have mercy on those who doubt”
  • 2 Cor. 4:8 – Paul says he was “perplexed.” Though not strictly the same as doubting, the meaning of the word can include an element of doubt.
  • 2 Tim. 2:12-13 – here being “faithless” is contrasted with “denying” Christ. Those who deny are denied by God. But those who are faithless, God remains faithful to. I take this to be the difference between having less confidence in Christ (= doubting) and renouncing Christ altogether (= denying).

So, yes. You can truly follow Christ/God and yet have doubts.

God’s Goal

Though God receives and shows kindness to those who doubt, He does not want us to maintain or celebrate a weak faith filled with doubts. Instead, he wants faith in Christ to grow more and more (2 Pet. 1:5-8; Jude 1:20; etc.).

Grow Your Faith

Faith…

  • Comes through God’s Word (Rom. 10:17) – thus, reading/hearing Scripture is an important step in bringing faith
  • Rests in God’s power (not human intellect) (1 Cor. 2:1-5) – at the core of biblical faith is a supernatural work and revelation of God. This does not mean our reasoning has no place, but it is not the ultimate place our faith should rest.
  • Grows through Spirit-led prayer (Jude 1:20)

Water Baptism (Quick Glance)

WHO

  • Those who have repented and placed their faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 10:47, 48; Acts 8:35-38; Acts 2:38-41)     

WHAT

  • Water baptism. (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:26)  
  • A foundational and elementary principle of Christ. (Hebrews 6:1, 2)
  • Baptism is not what causes salvation, since without faith in Christ there is no salvation, but baptism is emphasized as something which those receiving salvation should be led to do.  (Compare Mark 16:16 with John 3:36)

WHERE / HOW

  • Immersion on water.  (Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:38, 39; Romans 6:3)
  • The Greek word for baptism “baptizo” comes from “bapto” [βάπτω], which means, “to dip, sink or immerse”.  

WHEN

  • Soon after they have placed their faith in Jesus.  (Acts 9:18; Acts 22:16)

WHY

  • The Lord told His disciples to make other disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them to do the same.  (Matthew 28:19)
  • It’s an outward expression of the salvation which we have in Christ and the resurrection which takes place within our spirit (and the physical resurrection which we will one day experience at Christ’s return).  (1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:12)
  • An outward expression replacing physical circumcision for the people of God (see Appendix: Water Baptism & Circumcision)for more details).

By Gabe Hall

Repentance is Necessary for Salvation

Jesus

Jesus’ first recorded words in Mark’s gospel are: “The time is fulfilled…repent and believe in the gospel.” (1:15).

Jesus’ last words in Luke’s gospel include: “The Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem.” (24:46-47)

Notice that repentance is named alongside faith as the means to receive the gospel and be forgiven.

The Apostles

This teaching is carried on by his followers.

  • In the beginning of Acts, when the crowd asks the apostles, “What shall we do?” Peter tells them, “Repent and be baptized…” (2:37-38).
  • Near the end of Acts, Paul reminds the Ephesian church leaders: “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable…testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (20:30-31).

Further, in Hebrews 6:1-2, the writer names 6 foundational elements of Christianity. The first 2 are:

  1. Repentance from dead works
  2. Faith toward God

Again, repentance and faith are both prerequisite for following Christ.

Faith and Repentance Assume Each Other

Now, sometimes in the Bible you see only faith mentioned as the means of salvation:

  • Jesus: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
  • His followers: “Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’” (Acts 16:30-31)

But other times only repentance is mentioned as the means of salvation:

  • Jesus: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)
  • His followers: “They were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you…’” (Acts 2:37-38)

The simple solution in light of the totality of Scripture is that when repentance is named alone, faith is assumed. And when faith is named alone, repentance is assumed. Neither are optional.

What is Repentance?

Repentance literally means, “to turn.” It can be seen very clearly in Luke 15 (the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”). After the younger son rejected his father and went his own way, he said to himself, “I will arise and go to my father,” (15:18), then, “he arose and came to his father,” (15:20). Notice the father’s response: “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (15:20).

Thus, repentance, according to this story, has 3 elements:

  1. A change of will – he decided, “I will arise and go to my father” (instead of following his own way)
  2. A corresponding first action – “he arose and came to his father” (he took a first step)
  3. The Father making up the remaining distance – “While he was still a long way off, his father…ran” (in other words, God isn’t waiting with arms crossed for us to make all these changes; He’s looking for a change in our will and He runs to meet us when that happens)

Along with this picture, consider:

  1. “Repentance from dead works” (Hebrews 6:1)
  2. “Repentance toward God” (Acts 20:21)

The negative side of repentance is a turning away from sin and living for ourselves. The positive side is turning to live for God.

Repentance is, at its essence, a change of will. Said in another way, it is a change of “Lords,” or “Bosses.” Before you come to Christ, you are your own Lord/Boss. Or maybe your friends are. Or your family. But when you come to Christ, He becomes your Lord. Your will is now to follow Him.

Of course, the rest of Scripture (and experience!) proves that you will never achieve this perfectly in this lifetime. But repentance simply means you now reorient your course to strive to follow Christ, even though there will be subsequent times of repentance throughout your Christian journey (sometimes even 7+ times of the same sin in 1 day – Luke 17:3-4).

Conclusion

Thus, we are saved through:

  1. Repentance toward Christ as Lord
  2. Believing/trusting that God came as Jesus to take all our punishment for sins dying on the cross, then resurrected 3 days later so that God has fully pardoned us.

Both are necessary.

-Brian Holda

For a fuller treatment on this, see Lesson 6: Repentance

Tyndale House: Ink Magazine

Merry Christmas Eve 🙂

Thought you guys might appreciate this!

In my opinion, Tyndale House is pretty much the premier place in the world for biblical studies (and, miraculously, has seemed to stay conservative and humble in interpreting the Bible). Therefore, they are on the leading edge of many biblical teachings, discoveries, etc. Lately they have been pushing to make their resources accessible to all people. A few years back they produced one of my favorite tools: stepbible.org. And now they are sending out a free journal of various research and findings (see below). I highly encourage you all to subscribe.

I simultaneously also urge this caution: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). In other words, even smart guys like these will leave you blind if you put trust in them. But if you trust in the Lord to speak through others and teach through others, I think these could be wonderful resources and teachers to learn from!

Subscribe to Tyndale House – Ink Magazine

Brian

What is Prayer?: Video + Outline

What is Prayer? (Video – 52m)

  • Luke 5:15-16; Acts 2:42; 6:4 – prayer = a foundation and priority
  • 650+ prayers in the Bible
  • Matt. 6:7-13 (cf. Luke 11:1)
    • 6:7-8 – often associated with “asking” (cf. Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; John 14:16; James 4:2)
      • Declarations (e.g. Acts 3:6) may be requests (cf. Josh. 10:12)
      • Like incense, prayer goes up only (Psalm 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:4). It is not spoken of as dialogue in Scripture (God doesn’t pray to us; we pray to Him).
    • 6:9-13 – Prayer Template
      1. “Our” – corporate nature/identification
      2. Praise/Thank God for who He is (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1)
      3. Focus on His will (cf. Eph. 5:17; 1 John 5:14-15)
      4. Focus on needs
      5. (assumes we forgive – Matt. 5:23-24; Mark 11:25)
      6. Against Satan (cf. Luke 18:1-8)
  • Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-8
    • we are poor
    • God is rich
    • we must plead (cf. Proverbs 18:23)
  • God’s will, in a sense, is reliant on our prayers: Isaiah 37:21; Dan. 9:1-4; Zech. 10:1; Matt. 6:10; James 4:2-3; 1 John 5:14-15; Rev. 5:8
  • Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-22 – boldness in prayer comes through knowing God’s will and the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice
  • …with songs: 1 Cor. 14:15; Rev. 5:8
  • …in the Spirit and understanding: 1 Cor. 14:15
  • …with fasting: Acts 13:2-3

Prophets & Prophecy: Video + Outline

Prophets & Prophecy

Video – *** teaching begins at 8m ***

Prophet = one who communicates God’s utterances to others (Exodus 4:10-17; 7:1-2)

  1. Hears/sees God’s message (1 Sam. 3:1-14; 1 K 13:11-25; 22:13-23)
  2. Shares God’s message (Eze. 33:1-9 cf. Hosea 9:8; Eze. 4:4-5)

The Messengers (Prophets)

  • 1 of 5 ministries named: Eph. 4:11
    • Gifted from Christ (versus by appointment)
    • To build up Church
  • Male & Female: Ex. 15:20-21; Judg. 4:4-5; 2 K. 22:14; Lk. 2:36-38; Ac. 2:17-18; 21:8-9; 1 Co. 11:2-16
  • Continually and consistently prophesy – in word and deed (below)
  • Obedient living: Isa. 20:2; Jer. 16:2, Eze. 24:15-18; Hos. 1:2; Mt. 7:15-20; Lk. 3:2
  • Prayer: Gen. 20:7; 1 Sam. 12:23; 15:10-11
  • Rejection: Matt. 23:29-36
  • Still human: 1 Kings 19:3-5; Jer. 20:7-18; Eze. 4:14-15

The Messages (Prophecies)

  • 1 of 9 spiritual gifts: 1 Cor. 12:10
    • Gifted by the Holy Spirit
    • To build up Church (1 Cor. 14:4)
  • “upbuilding and encouragement and consolation,” (1 Co. 14:3, ESV).
    • Upbuilding – compare Jer. 1:9-10
    • Encouragement – Phile. 1:7; Heb. 12:5-6; 13:22 (cf. 10:26-31)
  • Includes Rev. 2:18-29; 22:18-19
  • Includes foretelling the future: Deut. 18:21-22
  • Examples:
    • O.T.: Judges 6:7-10; Isaiah 43:5-7; Jer. 18:6-10; Hag. 1:13
    • N.T.: Acts 5:9-11; 11:28; 13:2; 21:7-11 (20:23)
    • Contrast: Jer 23:9-40; Matt. 24:24; 1 Thes. 5:3
  • Applies:
    1. To self (Is. 6:5; Matt. 7:5; Acts 20:28)
    2. To church (Is. 1-12; Jer. 1-45; Ez. 1-24; 1 Co. 5:9-13; Rev. 1-3+)
    3. To the nations (Is. 13-21; Jer. 46-51; Eze. 25-32; Rev. 15-20?)
  • Exists Today: 1 Cor. 1:4-8; 13:8-12; N.T. assumes them as normative
  • By Non-Prophets: Num. 22-24; 1 Sam. 19:18-24; Dan. 2; Mt. 7:21-23
    • May be demonic: Acts 16:16; 2 Thes. 2:9
  • Judging Prophecy (1 John 4:1; 1 Thes. 5:19-21):
    • By Scripture: Deut. 13:1-3; Matt. 3:16-4:11; Acts 17:10-11
    • By Fruit: Deut. 13:1-3; Mt. 7:15-20; 1 Co. 12:3; Rev. 2:20; 19:10
  • How to Prophesy:
    • Desire prophecy: 1 Cor. 14:1
    • Ask God for this gift: Luke 11:13; 1 Cor. 14:13
      • Lay hands: Acts 19:6
    • Use it according to your gifting: Rom. 12:6; 1 Pet. 4:10-11
      • With love; for upbuilding (1 Cor. 13-14)
    • Aided by music: 1 Sam 10:5; 2 K 3:15-16; 1 Chron 25:1
    • Encourage it in the church: 1 Cor. 14; 1 Thes. 5:20; 2 Tim. 1:6
      • Prophets train church in this gift: 1 Sam. 19:20; Eph. 4:11
    • Seek Scripture above prophecy (e.g. 2 Pet. 1)