Assurance – Session 6

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 6

  1. What does idolatrous love of the world reveal?
  2. The question is not _____ you worship, but _________ you worship.
  3. How do we overcome the world?
  4. ____________ is the gift by which we ______________. (1 John 5:4, 1 John 4:19)
  5. It’s not that our desire for sin is too __________, but that our love for God is too _____________.
  6. Only by _________________ for the world can you ___________ the world. (1 John 2:17)

Assurance – Lesson 5

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 5

  1. Explain Martin Luther’s “Damnable Doctrine of Doubt”. Do you agree or disagree with this doctrine?
  2. Read 1 John 2:15-16. What diagnosis for a relationship with God is mentioned in this verse?
  3. What is meant by “Do not love the world or the things of the world”?
  4. Describe the meaning of “lust” as it pertains to 1 John 2:16.
  5. Read 1 John 5:21. What is idolatry? When does a good thing become a bad thing?
  6. Read 1 John 5:21. What is idolatry? When does a good thing become a bad thing?
  7. Read Luke 14:33 and Luke 14:26. Describe how we are to show love for God based on these verses.
  8. Read Mark 1:15, Acts 2:38, and Acts 17:30. Does repentance follow belief?

“We don’t come to him as bad people trying to become good people; we come as rebels to lay down our arms.” – C.S. Lewis

Assurance – Lesson 4

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 4

  1. Explain what is meant by “Truth as fact becomes real as experience.”
    • Magnification happens first at conversion but it happens again and again for the rest of your life
  2. We were created for fellowship. List some ways God reinforces this statement.
  3. Three ways to build your relationship with God:
    1. Put yourself in the presence of His Word (Read the Bible)
      • Do a quiet time
      • Memorize scripture
      • Pray the scriptures back to God
      • Get in a small group
      • Become an expert at applying the Scriptures to deep and broken parts of life.
    2. Pray for it
    3. Keep obeying even when you don’t ‘feel’ it.
  4. Why is present posture better proof than a past memory?
  5. According to Romans 10:9-10, what is necessary to be saved?
  6. Explain James 2:17 if these requirements are all that is necessary to be saved.

Assurance – Lesson 3

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 3

  1. What does certainty in God through experience mean to you? (1 John 1-2)
  2. What is the difference between Objective and Subjective truth?
  3. Explain how Jesus’ miracles point to a higher reality.
    • What lesson can be learned from Jesus feeding the 5000?
    • What lesson can be learned from Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well?
    • What lesson can be learned from Jesus healing the blind man?

  4. Read John 3:36. How many groups of people are referenced in this verse? What are they?
  5. Read 1 John 2:1-2. How does it make you feel to know Jesus is your advocate? What does it mean that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins?
  6. From the book “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart,” in chapter 3 read the section Ray Dillard wrote describing what a high priest had to do before Yom Kippur, then read Zechariah 3:4, 9.

    How does God see even the most holy who approach Him?

Assurance – Lesson 2

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

  1. Does God want us to know we are saved? How can we know for sure we are saved?
    1. A saved person placed their hopes of heaven entirely on Jesus – 1 John 5:13
      “Assurance doesn’t come by remembering a prayer you prayed in the past but by the posture you are in the present.”
    2. A saved person has a new nature – 1:John 5:18
      “It doesn’t matter what your mouth says on Sunday morning, it matters what your life says Monday through Saturday.”
  2. What is your relationship to your chair at this moment? What about your relationship with Jesus?
    1. Belief in your sin – 1 John 1:8,10
    2. Resting on Jesus – 1 John 2: 1-2
  3. Do you know Jesus? Are you keeping his commands?
    1. Someone who claims to know Jesus and does not keep his commands is a liar – 1 John 2:4
  4. Why does God punish those who sin?
    1.  Describe the difference between “faithful and just” and “merciful and kind” – 1 John 1:9
    2. Jesus didn’t just plead your case before God, he took the punishment for your sin – Galatians 3:13-14
  5. Read 1 John 5:16-17. What is meant by “a sin that leads to death”?
    1. It does not mean you cannot repent – John 6:37
  6. What action characterizes a righteous man?
    1. It’s not what you do, but what you do after what you did – Proverbs 24:16

“Conversion is not sinless perfection, but it is a new direction.”

Assurance – Lesson 1

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 1

  1. J.D. told his story about struggling with assurance of salvation. Have you struggled? Do you still? Describe that.
  2. How do repentance and faith, as explained in this session, give depth to the idea of asking Jesus into your heart?
  3. How does a misuse of the sinner’s prayer grant assurance to some who shouldn’t have it and keep it from some who should?
  4. Read Romans 10:9-10. How did this session impact how you understand this passage and others like it? 
  5. Does God want us to know we are saved? How can we know for sure we are saved?
  6. Explain why Jesus put acceptance before change when he spoke to the adultress.
  7. Search your heart and mind for why you are attending this study. Write down below what you hope to get out of this study.

God’s acceptance is the power that liberates us from sin, not the reward for having liberated ourselves.

Purpose for this study: Comfort those who are troubled, and trouble those who are unjustifiably comforted

Key Verses: Matthew 7, Romans 10:9-10, 1 John 5:13-18, John 14:18, John 14:1-3, 1 John 4:19

Truth About (In) Tolerance

What is tolerance?

Tolerance was once “putting up with” something even though it may not be preferred.

Dictionary.com defines tolerance as: “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”

Today, society has a much different opinion of what tolerance is. If someone is not in agreement with something, it is okay for them to personally choose not to do it, but it is not okay to tell anyone else not to.

Truth About Tolerance

A cornerstone of the faith for a Christian is the Holy Bible. We believe this book as a pillar of our faith, held up as objective truth and the final authority for all issues.

This often runs in direct conflict with what society says about various issues covered in the Holy Bible. When Christians stand up for these beliefs, they often face criticism.

The fact that groups who call themselves “christians” and take on traditional Christian labels while spreading hate filled messages does not help. Especially when they call for and receive media attention for their efforts.

What is love?

Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Love endures all things, it does not say it promotes all things. It does not say it endorses all things. It endures all things.

Cultural (In) Tolerance

One of the biggest issues today revolves around sexual preferences, and specifically homosexuality. Where Christianity calls this lifestyle a sin, cultural tolerance calls for more than a tolerant attitude toward those who practice this “lifestyle”.

Cultural tolerance asks everyone to vacate their beliefs when it comes to others and accept a relative view of truth. It promotes the idea that people should decide for themselves what is right and wrong.

We are called to love and forgive while being kind and gentle. The book of Ephesians continually calls for this positions from followers of Christ.

Kindness and gentleness

I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds [us].

Ephesians 4:1-3 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:32 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Anger and Grace

It is easy to feel anger towards a group of people who seemingly flaunt their sin in the face of God and Christianity. We must at all times remember who we are and the grace Christ gave us as he sacrificed himself on the cross.

Just as Christ forgave us our sins, so we should to extend that grace to others. Jesus was a friend of sinners, hanging out with some of the most despised people of his day.

The Hebrew nation hated prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus had these groups in his inner circle. He forgave a Samaritan woman and healed a Canaanite woman’s daughter. These were two groups that were enemies of God’s people (Hebrews).

Love and Respect

We must learn to love and respect those who differ from us. Even more so, we must be kind and gentle to those who willingly sin and flaunt their discretion in front of God.

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must [forgive].

Colossians 3:12-13 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

If we fail to do this, we not only willingly disobey God’s word, but we create another layer to the barrier put up between the modern culture and Christianity.

In The World, Not Of The World

While called to be set apart from the world, Jesus also commanded we carry His message to the world. We must exhibit the true definition of tolerance through love, patience, and understanding.

It’s All Relativism, Or Is It?

What is relativism?

Relativism is defined as the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.

Let’s break that down into easier terms. If one person were to say a car were heavy, most people would agree because they are comparing the car to something of considerably less weight.

If, however the scale changed and the car were compared to say a truck and trailer (18-wheeler), then a car isn’t nearly as heavy in comparison. Now this is not necessarily relativism, but it does display how changing viewpoints changes the answer of whether the car is heavy.

Now, move this viewpoint to any number of hot topic issues today, and we can more accurately describe relativism. Homosexuality, premarital sex, co-habitation, abortion, you name the issue and it usually boils down to a relative view of truth.

The idea that truth is relative based on how a person feels or believes on a subject is the root of the relativism movement. It is a movement which has invaded churches and communities of believers. It is pervasive among young believers everywhere, and it is a most dangerous belief.

Jesus Confronts Relativism

“When He entered the temple complex, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to Him as He was teaching and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?’

Jesus answered them, ‘I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for Me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from men?’

They began to argue among themselves, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” He will say to us, “Then why didn’t you believe him?” But if we say, “From men,” we’re afraid of the crowd, because everyone thought John was a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’

And He said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'”

Matthew 21:23-27

Now, the chief priests and elders did not use full relativism here, but rather sowed the seeds of relativism. Essentially, they chose not to answer Jesus because they did not want the consequence of answering either way. If they said John’s baptism came from Heaven, they would lose face. If they answered that it wasn’t from Heaven, they were afraid of the mob who did believe, so they chose not to answer.

Jesus answers them by not giving them the satisfaction of a discussion. He basically says if you don’t want to get serious with me, I am not going to entertain your questions.

The Standard of Truth

To say that truth is relative to each person is arrogant. It denies that God is the creator of all and that he alone declares truth. Relativism removes God from the world and puts each person in His place. It gives the authority of discerning truth to the individual.

But those who claim belief in relativism are themselves hypocritical. If they truly believed in it, they would not believe in contracts. What would be true to one party would not necessarily hold true for the other. Why get married, purchase property, or even take an employment position?

It’s not about truth, but convenience. People who claim relativism want a convenient answer, not a truthful answer. Whatever allows the person to think or do something they want without consequence is “truth” to them.

Holding Truth Against Relativism

John Piper proposes that there are 7 evil and destructive effects of relativism. They are: it commits treason, creates duplicity, conceals doctrinal defection, cloaks greed with flattery, cloaks pride with the guise of humility, enslaves people, and leads to brutal totalitarianism.

I strongly suggest you read the article linked above about each of these evils. It will help those you wish to reach about relativism with the Truth of God. Ultimately our calling and our mission is to reach the lost no matter what they are lost in.

We are to trust in Christ no matter the consequence of the truthful answer. He will provide for us when we answer relativism with Truth in a kind, loving, and patient manner. It is my hope and prayer that you are emboldened to face relativism with Truth and grace which flows from God.

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Ask Questions

One of the best ways to engage with others is to ask questions.

Asking questions forces you to listen to answers. It also allows you to invest in someone as urged in the previous lesson – Engaging with others.

Why should I ask questions?

When we start stating our opinions or firming up our position, it puts our audience in a defensive position. They may start to formulate an answer to what you are saying, closing themselves off to your responses.

Asking questions on the other hand, tends to disarm people. It allows them to lay out their beliefs in a non-confrontational manner and shows them that you care not only about what they believe, but why.

It also has the added benefit of providing openings to ask more questions. Through asking questions you can lead someone to a conclusion instead of telling them how to get there.

Does asking questions make me a student or teacher?

A good teacher realizes they will always be a student. Just as you look to teach others about your faith, you should also look to learn from others what they believe. This will help you in future interactions with others who may have similar beliefs.

Hopefully the line of questioning rewards you with a deeper interaction with the person. In an ideal situation, they in turn will ask you questions which will deepen their understanding of your faith and how rooted it is in Christ.

Even if it doesn’t, don’t be dissuaded! You either succeed, or you learn. To succeed, you must learn.

When should I ask questions?

As soon as the opportunity presents itself. It can come as quick as after a greeting, or after an introduction. It may also come after a long discussion over another topic, such as politics or the weather.

One question that usually breaks the ice and turns the subject is “Do you go to church?” Answering ‘Yes’ does not necessarily mean that they believe in Christianity or that they are a Christian. In the same vein, answering ‘No’ doesn’t necessarily mean they are lost.

Their answers do clue you in to what your next few questions should be. The questions you ask following the ‘Yes’ answer could be “What do you believe about Jesus?” or “Do you believe in Heaven/Hell?” These can clue you in to whether they truly are followers of Christ.

The ‘No’ answer can elicit questions like “Have you ever been to church?” or “Is there any particular reason why?” Most people I have encountered are glad to share their negative reasons for not attending church.

Maintain your focus

Keeping your focus will help you guide the person to the discussion you want, which should be the topic of their salvation. Of course, jumping right into that conversation can put people off and keep you from ever getting past their rejection.

Remember that if you are rejected, it isn’t you they are rejecting, but Jesus. Just because they reject Him today, doesn’t mean they will always reject Him. Just a crop has to be cultivated after it is planted, so people sometimes must be tended by many before taking root and growing in faith.

You should also be growing as well. Discipleship starts with putting prayer and lessons learned through reading scripture into practice. Asking questions when engaging with others starts you on a path to discipleship by spreading the gospel as Jesus has commanded us all to do.

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Engage With Others

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.” Colossians 4:5-6 – HCSB

Just as faith without works is dead, sharing a message with no one is useless. What good is it to proclaim good news when no one is listening? We need to engage with others.

Why should anyone listen if all you do is talk? Engagement is not one sided. It is not preaching, lecturing, or talking down to someone.

Engagement involves listening and talking. It is truly hearing what someone else says, allowing yourself to process it, and then responding in a kind and thoughtful manner.

How do I engage with others?

While I have never been formally diagnosed with social anxiety, I am almost sure I suffer at least a mild form. Even at family events, when things get too loud or too many people are moving, I withdraw to a quiet place.

The more I noticed this in myself, the more I see those around me battling with the same symptoms. I have seen this in my daughter, my boss, and many others I have observed, which leads me to believe this is a bigger epidemic than I want to admit.

This anxiety makes it even harder to engage with others. The ability to approach a stranger and start a conversation is a daunting task for the most outgoing person. Add to that task the obstacle of social anxiety, and it feels almost impossible at times to share God’s message.

Engage with others – don’t dominate the conversation

“My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” James 1:19 – HCSB

When I do engage with others, I tend to make the conversation one sided. I feel that if I can talk without interruption, I can get through what I have to say and not have to deal with anxiety.

“A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 – HCSB

Doing this keeps me from a relationship with that person, though. If I don’t take the time to listen, they know I am not invested in them. If I don’t invest anything in them, why should they invest in what I have to say? Even if I have irrefutable proof that what I say is true and would benefit them, they are not inclined to listen because I haven’t invested in them.

“An offended brother is [harder to reach] than a fortified city, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortress.” Proverbs 18:19 – HCSB

Paying attention only costs time

So if there is an investment opportunity, what would the investment cost you? Time is probably the most valuable asset we have in life. Money, possessions, relationships, you can amass as much of these as you want given enough time.

If time is the most valuable asset, what are you investing yours in? I’ll be honest. I love video games. I have invested a great deal of time and money into them. In return, I have gained a small measure of personal gratification and escape from life’s day to day issues.

If I had been investing the same resources into relationships, I may have found some more friends, but ultimately I should have cultivated relationships between people and God. If I truly believe Jesus meant what he said when he gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), then I should be investing in God’s creation.

Start to engage with others

“[I pray] that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for [the glory of] Christ.” Philemon 1:6 – HCSB

Invest in others by engaging with them. You just may find that you are also investing with yourself. Using prayer, reading scripture, and doing good works will draw you closer to God. Introducing people to God also increases your circle.

This begins the next phase in Christianity in general. Discipleship is more than teaching others about God. It is a training that you undertook when you made the decision to follow Christ. There comes a time where you should both be mentored and be a mentor.

While teaching others about Christ and His ministry, you should also be teaching them how to defend that faith, how to introduce others to Christ, and ultimately how to teach others to defend their newfound faith. Christianity is a relational belief system, and without the relationship, you cannot find success in sharing your faith with others.

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