1 Why does God allow it? A talk by Rev Timothy Wood, Pastor of Wigmore Evangelical Free Church A pastor one morning has a distressing phone call from one of his members. Her four year old daughter had just been killed by a lorry as the daughter pulled away from her mother s hand and ran across the road. The inevitable question that the pastor had to deal with, was why? A young man, age 16, who was seen by his Sunday School teachers as a very promising gifted boy, keen and eager to serve the Lord, was seen by his pastor as a man for the ministry, was cycling on his bike, starts to wobble, falls off and is instantly killed by a car. The question: Why does God do that, take away a promising gifted Christian who could have been so useful to the Lord? A newly wedded couple, excited in their early years had an experience of tragedy. The husband woke up unable to speak. He woke his wife up, and points to the mouth. A quick phone call to the doctor. issues in a quick trip to the hospital. The next day, the surgeons operate for cancer of the brain. The trauma of the surgery is worse. They caught the cancer in time, but the husband has lost all memory, all feeling and can no longer feed himself, wash himself and care for himself. The wife now has the role of watching him, caring for him and feeding him. She has to put up with his frustrations, outbursts and mood swings. She has to hold him when he walks, and pushes him in a wheelchair. Why? Is it enough for us to say this is a consequence of sin? Is it enough to say God cares for you? Is it enough for us to say God is in control? A minister, who had a fruitful ministry came home one day, to find that the police were waiting for him in his house, saw his wife weeping, where upon the police asked him to accompany them to the police station. He was charged for abusing boys. His marriage fell apart, his church asked him to leave, his family disowned him, who as a result of who their father was, also suffered abuse. It turned out, that one of the boys who made this charge, 1
2 admitted that he had a grudge against this pastor, cos he banned him from the youth club, and admitted that he made the whole thing up. The minister was acquitted, but he has a broken family, no job, and no ministry, when all the time he was innocent. Why does God allow this? I wish that some of these stories were made up. But they are not. In fact, I am sure that all of us could add on to this list. The truth of the matter is that all we have to do is live long enough, and we also will suffer. This represents the suffering that takes place in this world. Add war, racism, conflict, poverty, starvation. And what shall we say about natural disasters? Each year thousands die of starvation because of famines. Millions suffer because of earthquakes, and so-called innocent people get caught up in accidents due to other people s mistakes, or evil. In any and all these tragedies, in all of this pain, why does God allow these things to happen, why does he allow it? Let me begin by saying, that this subject is a massive one, a broad one, and time will not permit us to deal with this subject in perhaps a way it deserves. So I will have to narrow it down. Secondly, I will have to say what this paper is not about. Its not a quick answer to difficult questions about suffering. Nor is it a defence of the existence of God. Its not even the sort of paper I would suggest giving to those who are suffering. Still less is it an academic discussion of philosophical problems. So what is this paper about? Its primarily a preventative medicine. What I mean by that, is that one of the major causes of devastating grief and confusion among Christians is that our expectations are false. We do not give the subjects of evil and suffering the thought it deserves, until we ourselves are confronted by them. If by that point our beliefs not well thought out but deeply ingrained - are largely out of step with the God who has disclosed Himself in the bible, then the pain may be multiplied many times over as we begin to question the very foundations of our faith. Of course, not all doubts arise from false expectations. At the intellectual level, a Christian may be orthodox, yet so lack spiritual maturity 2
3 that when the first crisis hits, all the orthodox commitments are thrown back in the melting pot. Nevertheless, its hard to think of Christians agonising over basic questions if their suffering has not, to say the least, been based upon false expectations as to what God is like, what God does, and what suffering has done in this world. For instance pain, suffering, and seeing others suffer often poses the question why? If its personal, its why me? That soon gives way to why are you punishing me or why are you picking on me? If its seeing others suffer, its very often why does God allow this to happen? E.g. a common view amongst the unconverted if they see innocent children suffer, maybe because of child abuse or starvation, is, if God is true, why does He allow all this to happen? The implication is, that the very existence of evil calls into question the existence of God. For others, its not the mere existence of evil that is the problem, but it s the abundance of it, and the large scale of it. One might argue that the presence of some evil is not damaging to faith, or the assumption that God leaves people free to rebel. But how can this sort of theory account for natural disasters, for the sheer quantity of suffering that bears no clear relation to good and bad people, to age and experience, to unambiguous punishment? The fact is, there are even some Christians who have a problem with all this. And this is the angle which I wish to address. Pastors dealing with people who suffer and ask the question why? Or pastors having people who see disasters and ask the question, why does God allow it? In attempting to deal with this subject, it must be stressed first of all, that to ask the question why does God allow? does not always mean the person is questioning the sovereignty of God. Quite often, the person who undergoes trials or sees disasters asks the questions why and then feels guilty for asking the question why. Spurgeon points out that this a tool that the devil adds on to the sufferer, making the sufferer feeling guilty and doubt. But this isn t always the case. You will find many examples of characters in the bible who asked the question, but it was not to question the sovereignty of God. To question the sovereignty of God is when the person is resentful or scornful of God, and resents God s eternal decrees, but to ask the question 3
4 why does God allow, does not always mean the person in questioning the sovereignty of God. Sometimes to ask the question why is not really seeking the question to be answered, but crying out for help. Sometimes, in our dealing with people who ask the question why, the answer isn t always necessarily what they need, but comfort and help. Yet others who ask these questions cannot bear more than the briefest reply. When a Christian asks that sort of question our response ought to be something like this, I cannot give you all the answers to your why? But you may draw courage from the fact that the one who loves you so much that He died for you asked the same question, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Of course, at some point you may have to deal at some length as to why. But all our answers may never give the sufferer or searcher satisfaction. Obviously, there has to be a point where we have to say we don t have the answer to that. And even in our attempts we are always left inadequate. E.g. in my experience of a member in our church who had contracted HIV, I felt totally inadequate in attempting to answer all her questions. Nevertheless, people want answers, where we can give them, and we must give them the answers. To ask why, is not always a question of rebellion, but one of searching. It is a question frequently asked in the bible by men of great standing. Jer 12v1 Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Ps 73v11 Does the most High have knowledge? Matt 1v3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? And what of Job rated as the greatest man among the people of the East. He asked more than his share of questions. Does that mean he was ungodly? On the contrary. Yet he still asked in ch 3v11 Why did I not perish at birth? He even questioned God s justice in allowing the ungodly to quote Job 21v1 spend their years in prosperity and go down to their graves in peace? Of course, then came the turning point of the whole story of Job when God spoke and asked Job questions as ch 38v4, Where were you when I laid the earth s foundations? v12 Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place? v35 Do you send the lightening bolts on their way? v33 Can you set up God s dominion over the 4
5 earth? The point here is God reminding Job that He is not under obligation to explain anything. The nearest God came to answering Job s questions directly was to ask in ch 40v2 Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who accuses God answer him. And then v8 Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God s? God told Job nothing about the cause of pain, but focussed on man s response. The individual pains that came to Job were enormous. One terrible day, 11,000 of his animals were stolen, servants were killed, 10 of his children perished when a tornado struck his house. Then his health began to deteriorate, covered with boils, his skin started to peel off, his eyes grew weak, his teeth rotted, he was hit with diarrhoea, fever and depression. An inner circle of friends were far from sympathetic. Why? Job wasn t told. But he was told 4 things. Firstly, God was in absolute control of the universe, and nothing can frustrate His eternal purposes. 42v2. Secondly, no man is in a position to argue with God or question his dealings with Him. 42v3. Thirdly, that the most important thing of all, when a person undergoes trials is a right relationship with God. 42v5, and last of all, that all people should confess and repent from all questioning of God s power, love and justice 42v6. Job did not get detailed answers to his specific questions but learned to trust God in the face of all his sufferings. The question we have to ask ourselves is how well are we getting our people to respond to their own personal sufferings and the suffering people of the world? C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The problem with pain after the death of his wife, No-one ever told me. I never forget hearing of a pastor who had heard that a member of his church was dying; He went to the house straight away only to find that she had already died. The doctor who had been there, packed his stuff and walked out, then returned, puts his hands on the minister s shoulders and says Rev, teach 5
6 your people do die properly. You see, although the woman was a Christian, she lacked assurance. My point is, how well are we preparing our people? We may not be able to give them the answers they want, but we can give them the answers they need. So in the face of wars, natural disasters, famines, child abuse and diseases, how do we prepare our people for questions such as, Why does God allow innocent people to get caught up in these terrible things? First of all, we remind our people that there is no such thing as an innocent person, and an innocent world. God created the world and it was without blemish. He made man in His image and made man perfectly, without sin or fault. He made man a personal being, capable of having a perfect relationship with God. He created man as a moral being, giving him a conscience, so that he will be able to tell the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. He was created as a rational being, able not merely to think, draw conclusions, but also to make moral choices. So in this perfect condition, God gave man the ability to obey Him or the liberty to disobey Him. But sin came into the world, and man disobeyed God, and these are the consequences, 1) man s relationship with God was shattered. Man still retains his spiritual nature, but lost his spiritual life. Secondly, he lost his innocence and his moral free will by becoming tied down with ungodly ideas. Thirdly, his own personality was ruined. He lost his self-esteem, became guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, afraid and anxious. Fourthly, his relationship with others had been poisoned by suspicion, distrust, and last of all, his body became subject to decay, disease and death. There is therefore a human condition which man has inherited, that as Paul says, all have sinned. Sin entered the world though one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned. 6
7 Adam sinned as the representative of the human race and because humanity is an integrated being, he took the entire species with him. So as a child is conceived, he even, while in the womb, as the Psalmist puts it, sinned. Therefore, no-one is innocent. All are capable of committing the worst, because the evil of all evil is the failure to do what God demands or the performance of what God forbids. That means we are capable of committing the worst. Listen to Lee Marvin s confession. How did I feel when I saw myself on screen? I found it very unpleasant. I remember, we made it for the violence. I was shocked at how violent it was. Of course, it was 15 years ago. When I saw the film I literally almost could not stand up, I was so weak. I did that? I am capable of that kind of violence? See, there is the fright. And this is why I think guys back off eventually. They say No, I m not going to put myself to those demons again, the demon being self. In Blanchard s booklet Where was God on September 11 th? quotes an article in the Times What s wrong with the world? The answer I am. The consequence also has affected creation, the entire cosmos, including the solar system, leaving creation, as Paul puts it in Romans 8v22 groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. For all its beauty, the world as we now see it, is not in its original condition, but is radically ruined by sin. Therefore, by our sin, we are responsible for earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes. No man is innocent. The big question here is, why did God take such a big risk in giving man moral freedom in the first place? Wouldn t it have been better if God had created robots in us? But that is not God s way. God s way is perfect, and as fallen creatures we need to swallow our pride, whatever the pain, and realise that none of us are innocent. But notice secondly, even though no-one is innocent, there is such a thing as innocent suffering. The case of Job s goodness highlights this fact. This means more than not all suffering is directly related to a specific sin: it means that some suffering in this world is not related to any sin. Undoubtedly, one can point out indirect connections by appealing to other scriptures about the fall and the universality of sin. But they do not rob the book of Job of the point being strongly emphasised, e.g. when a baby is born, and born with AIDS, her 7
8 suffering is the result of sin someone else s sin: she is innocent. Or an 18 month old baby, covered with cigarette burns inflicted by her father. It was the father who did it, where the 18 month child was innocent. When a father rapes his six year old daughter, in what conceivable sense is the daughter responsible? Her suffering is the result of sin someone else s. But that is exactly what makes her the innocent victim. Doubtless she is not innocent on any absolute scale. Six year olds cannot possibly be innocent on any absolute scale. They take after their parents. But what sin has the girl committed that makes her rape an appropriate retribution? Look at Job again. The losses he faced were the result of human making, the Sabeans and the Chaldeans, who took all his livestock and servants, and then the natural disasters the fire and wind, which killed all his children. But behind them stood Satan, and behind Satan stood God. These things happened to a man whom God calls blameless, upright and God-fearing. So although the bible insists that all sinners will suffer, it does not insist that each instance of suffering is retribution for sin. Doubtless if this were not a fallen world, there would be no suffering. But just because it is a fallen world, it does not mean there is no innocent suffering. Taking this into account, knowing this is the root of all the problems, it s still the symptoms that bother people. Of course, we must draw people back to the root of the problem, but how do you deal with the symptoms? Lets look at some of the symptoms. First of all, why does God allow famines? Why does God allow little children to get caught up in famines? This, no doubt, is one of the worst calamities to befall mankind. To see suffering children and people in distress and eventually dying brings untold misery. Whether its caused by crop failure, bad management, political malice, military action, people never ask who is responsible, but why does God allow this. Because of the nature of sin, people blame God. Yet, looking into God s word 8
9 for help in arriving at a right attitude to something as distressing as famine, we are faced with a number of inescapable propositions which are not popular. First of all, famine is a consequence of human selfishness. There is no escaping the fact, that man s inhumanity to man leads to the awful situations we have seen in a number of African countries. Is God to be blamed for this? The fault is mans. The siege of Jerusalem, seen in 2 Kings 25 by king Nebuchadnezzar was by no means the first or the last of its horrible kind, where the king deliberately surrounded the city, so the inhabitants starved as no food could get into the city. This was an action by man. Secondly, famines are not only a consequence of sin, but God actually allows it. 2 Kings 8 v 1, we are told that God decreed a famine in the days of Elisha. Yet the point is this, God is able to accomplish amazing purposes through famines. The famine led Jacob s sons to go to Egypt, to see their brother who was though to be dead. It was because of the famine that Naomi s family left Bethlehem and returned with her daughter-in-law Ruth. In distress, people turn to the Lord. In the l980 s thousands of refugees fled to Kenya from Mozambique and the Sudan, who were denied the gospel in their own country, only to come within reach of it, and were converted, and carried it back to their own countries. God allows famines to accomplish His amazing purposes. Thirdly, famines are an act of God s judgement. We are prone to forget that national sins lead to national judgements. The famine upon the lad of Israel in the days of Elijah seen in 1 Kings 17 & 18, was a direct result of rebellion. National sins lead to national judgements, and only days of genuine national repentance can heal a land as seen in 2 Chron 7v13&14. Fourthly, famines should always arouse deep care and concern, and if necessary help. Remember how the famines affected Jeremiah that it caused him to weep seen in Lamentations 2v Fifthly, remember that God is always moved by the sufferings of sinful humanity. Jesus had compassion on the multitude, because they were 9
10 like sheep without a shepherd. And that s the message we need to deliver. Famines are a consequence of man s greed. Why is it that the European Common Market burnt six billion tonnes worth of grain? Because it would have lowered the price of grain. This surely is not God s fault. A second symptom people often refer to is war: Why does God allow wars? God does allow war, to show the folly of man. To quote L-Jones It is not that war as such is sin, but that war is a consequence of sin or if you prefer it, that war is one of the expressions of sin. L-Jones makes three main headings. First, he says it is clear that God permits war in order that men may bear the consequences of their sin as punishment. He answers the objection yes, but why do the innocent get caught up in wars? By saying that we all have to reap the consequences, not only of our own personal sins, but also the sins of the entire human race. He continues, We share the same sun and rain, as other people, and we are exposed to the same illnesses and diseases. We are subject to the same trials by way of industrial depression and other causes of unhappiness including war. Thus it comes to pass that the innocent may have to bear part of the punishment for sins for which they are not directly responsible. Secondly, he says that God allows war in order that man may see through it, what sin really is. And last of all, he says that God permits war, with the purpose of bringing us back to God. Clearly, war then is seen as an act of God s judgement. That does not mean to say, there is no such thing as a just war. Indeed, the Second World War in one sense was just. Likewise, it does not mean that war should be entered into hastily, without making every effort for peace. Nevertheless, we should 10
11 never be taken by surprise by the presence of war, as this has always been a problem since the beginning after the fall. Christ Himself announces that wars will persist until he comes again. You will hear of war and rumours of war. The cause clearly for war as Jones puts it, is lust and desire. And this we need to remind people time and time again, back to the original problem, sin, as Albert Einstein says, What terrifies us is not the explosive force of the atomic bomb but the power of the human heart, in its explosive power for evil. A third symptom is why does God allow Natural disasters? Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, fires and Tsunami have claimed thousands of lives. The assumption is surely, you can t blame man for this! Therefore how can an all-powerful God allow his creation to get out of control in this way? But earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes and the like were all unknown before sin entered the world, and the suffering and death they cause are ultimately due to man s contempt for God. Again, Christ warns in Matt 24 that there will be famines and earthquakes. That s not to say that we should be complacent about suffering caused by natural disasters. There are many responsible steps to take as we show the fruit of the gospel. How then shall we train our minds to look at disasters? One of the most helpful passages in Luke 13v1-5. Quote. Notice three important lessons. First, Jesus does not assume that those who suffered under Pilate or who were killed in the collapse of the tower did not deserve their fate. Indeed, the fact that he can tell His contemporaries that unless they repent they too will perish, shows that Jesus assures that all death is, in one way or another, the consequence of sin and therefore deserved. Secondly, Jesus does insist that death by such means is no evidence whatsoever that those who suffer in this way are any more wicked than those who escape such a fate. The assumption seems to be all deserve to die. If some die under a murderous governor and others in a tragic accident, it is no more than they deserve. But that does not 11
12 mean that others deserve any less. Rather, the implication is that it is only God s mercy that has kept them alive. There is certainly no xxxxx better off on their part. Thirdly, Christ treats natural disaster not as agenda items in a discussion of the mysterious ways of God, but as incentives to repentance. It is as if He was saying that God uses disaster as a megaphone to call attention to our guilt, to the imminence of His righteous judgement if He sees no repentance. This is an argument developed at great length in Amos 4. Disaster is a call to repentance. Christ might have added, as He does elsewhere, that peace, which we do not deserve, shows us God s goodness and forbearance. It is a mark of our lostness that we invert these two. We think we deserve the times of blessing and prosperity and that times of disaster are not only unfair, but come close calling into question God s goodness. Christ does not see it that way. If we are to adopt His mind we have some fundamental realignments to make in our assessment of ourselves. A fourth common question, why does God allow children to suffer? Babies who are helpless and dependant on adults become victims of famines, disaster, child abuse and wars, has always aroused our sympathy. No doubt this is a difficult one. Most of the people who I know who have been abused have learnt to overcome it. But still this doesn t satisfy many. After the Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells murders, I was challenged in a bank by someone who knows what my job is, if you say God is caring where was He when these two girls were being murdered? I pointed out, who committed this terrible act of evil, was it God or Ian Huntley? My point to her, was you can t blame God for an act of evil committed by man. I realise that talk of a loving Sovereign God, may not provide instant satisfying answers, but think of how much worse is atheism, which is incapable of either explanation or consolation. Nevertheless the whole point of God, is that justice will prevail. Remember what Christ says in Matt 18v6, of those who harm children, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. 12
13 The task we have as pastors in convincing people that God s justice will prevail. The last symptom, is why does God allow this to happen to me? This brings into context the whole of suffering, and is a reminder of why we have to suffer, but more God s gracious dealings with us in suffering. Clearly, the great intention of God s allowing us to suffer is to trust. Trust in the justice of God. Trust in His sovereign purposes, and trust that God works out all things for good, even if there is evil in human intent. Apart from the cross itself, one of the clearest examples is the treatment of Joseph. He was sold into slavery out of the malice of his brothers. Their intent was evil, and for years Joseph s experience was appalling. Yet he came to see that his brothers intent was not the only one operating. Gen 50v20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. In conclusion, before I deal with how as pastors we teach these things to our people, I realise several things. First of all, at no point do we have all the answers to solve all the problems, end all pain and tie up all the loose ends. Secondly, although we know where the real problem lies, the answers we give to some, will never satisfy people, and its an excuse for peoples hostility to the gospel. Thirdly, there is no logical basis for assuming that God owes us an explanation for anything or everything that happens in the world. Fourthly, to say that the scriptures do not tell us everything is not to say that it tells us nothing. And last of all, while the bible does not tell us all we want to know, it does tell us all we need to know. 13
14 So how does God answer all these questions? Three primary affirmations. The first affirmation is this; God didn t start it. We find that the origin of all evil is the rebellion of Satan against God. And the origin of all evil in all human history is Adam and Eve. But didn t God create Lucifer and Adam? Yes. Isn t He therefore responsible, albeit indirectly, for their evil acts? No. Why? God created each with freedom that allowed for the possibility of evil but He did not programme them so that they had to commit evil. To make evil possible, is not the same as making it actual. God not only gave Adam a free will, He also gave him a choice to make. Freedom has no value if there is no way to use it. The choice was symbolised by a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Not content simply to know good, they ate of the tree and brought the calamity of sin upon themselves and the whole human race. The second affirmation is that God did something about it. The giving of His Son. He went to the cross, which was the biggest miscarriage of justice ever, to make it possible for us to be delivered from evil. So instead of being critical of God for the evil in the world, the thing we must do is take advantage of Christ s victory over evil on the cross. Last of all, the bible makes it clear that evil will eventually be destroyed once and for all. So let me conclude with some pastoral reflections. First of all, in the light of such a question why does God allow evil? and preparing answers for such people, there needs to be more emphasis on the doctrine of God. That is of His sovereignty, providence, wisdom, glory and power, so that people may have a greater understanding of His mysterious ways and His dealings with this world. 14
15 Secondly, there must be more emphasis on the doctrine of original sin. Clearly, this is the root of all the problems in the world, that causes people to ask the question why? With this in mind, it is a good opportunity for us, to throw these evils back to ourselves, and say we are all responsible for all the disasters, famines, and violence in the world. Thirdly, we need to remember that when people face a disaster in their lives, people all respond differently, yet the grief passes through predictable stages. For example, when suddenly someone is bereaved, it is not uncommon to find such stages of grief as the following, we are in a state of shock, we feel depressed and lonely, we are experiencing symptoms of distress, we are filled with anger and so on. Clearly there is no immutable law about these stages. How many stages an individual goes through, and how quickly, depends on many things. Yet we need to be sensitive to them, as my point is that many forms of grief need time. Fourthly, we need to bear in mind that those who are asking the question, why does God allow? are not such much asking the question, but are seeking help, comfort and love and crying out for help. To this end, the most comforting answers are simple presence, help, silence, even tears. This can be more beneficial than an exposition of Rom 8v28. Fifthly, many verbal expressions of encouragement should not be based on the assumption that they must answer the question as to why does God allow. Not everyone asks that question. Some who need encouragement need reminding of simple things, not profound and complex answers to the why question. I know one person who was diagnosed as having incurable cancer. He never asked why, but some were trying to give him the answer. But the greatest encouragement he got, was when Christians came to him, reciting John 11, John 14, and 1 Cor l5. 15
16 Sixthly, we must not always conclude, that when such questions are asked, that the person is necessarily questioning the sovereignty of God, or is openly rebelling. Seventhly, when an unconverted person asks why does God allow? let us take it as a God given opportunity to turn the tables round. Eighthly, admit your inadequate position that you haven t got all the answers. Ninthly, in your preaching of such things, as disasters, famines, aids, war, keep a balance between total honesty and compassion. AIDS, war, famines, natural disasters are all part of God s judgement, sent and decreed by God, but this does not mean that Christians should walk away, not wanting, as it were, to interfere with the judgement of God. Christians should not walk away and ignore the homeless, the starving and the wounded. So while we utter God s warning about God s judgement, lets do so with a break in our voice, remembering the hope we have and offer it, not only the hope of the consummation, but hope even in the shorter term. To this end we must pray for those who suffer, remembering that God is the God of all comfort. In the deepest suffering, many find it almost impossible to pray. Should we therefore not intercede for them?.. 16
Whereas I was Blind, Now I See John 9: 1-11; 25 We all know that great hymn well: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I m found; was blind, but now
Basic Bible Doctrine Study Series Session 1 Salvation and Eternal Security The idea for this study began a long time ago. Regardless of denomination, many, if not most Christians base what they believe
Change Cycle Change often involves a process. The Bible describes five significant stages of change that are important to understand. They include Rebellion, Realization, Remorse, Repentance, and Restoration.
NEW BELIEVERS STUDY TABLE OF CONTENTS BIBLE STUDY 1: SALVATION 1 BIBLE STUDY 2: FAITH AND ASSURANCE 4 BIBLE STUDY 3: POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 7 BIBLE STUDY 4: TRIALS 10 BIBLE STUDY 1: SALVATION SCRIPTURE
Devotion NT298 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Paul s First Missionary Journey THEME: God has a calling on the lives of every one of His children! SCRIPTURE: Acts 12:25 13:52 Dear Parents
Joy Scripture Verses In The New Testament (Matthew 13:20) The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. (Matthew 13:44) "The kingdom
Whiplash 1 Matthew 16:21-28 (NRSV) From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes,
Who Is Jesus? There is probably no more personal or controversial question than this. Where does one begin? You could start with the definition from the Apostle s Creed: I believe in Jesus Christ, God's
STUDYING THE BOOK OF ROMANS IN SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS Lesson 16 - Life Through the Spirit - Romans 8:1-17 Read the following verses in the Last Days Bible or a translation of your choice. Then discuss
INTRODUCTION: This week we will jump back into our study through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation We will be looking at the book of Lamentations so you may want to read ahead and join us Thursday at
Condensed Version THE DISCIPLESHIP EVANGELISM COURSE 48-lessons by Don W. Krow with Andrew Wommack Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Devotion NT285 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Day of Pentecost THEME: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower us. Dear Parents SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:1-41 Dear Parents, Welcome
70 Bible Ethics LESSON 5 God Gives You Standards for Living Imagine that you are considering buying a bicycle. In the shop you see a beautiful bicycle, just the kind you have always wanted. Of course you
MBC How to share your Testimony of Salvation in Jesus (Adaptation of Navigators web resource) 0 The Reason The Apostle Peter challenges us: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
BIBLE STUDY (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-18) What s This Passage All About? The book of Genesis is about beginnings the beginning of the world, the beginning of humankind, and the beginning of our relationship
*WHAT GOD KNOWS ABOUT YOU Part 1 Getting to Know God *ILL When we have a distorted view of a situation or a person, it influences our actions and attitudes. There was a time when people believed the earth
If God Why Evil? Three Basic Responses to Evil 1. Pantheism: Affirms God and Denies Evil 2. Atheism: Affirms Evil and Denies God 3. Theism: Affirms both God and Evil How can both be true? Pantheism: Unrealistic
PREPARING AND LEADING SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDIES SESSION ONE PREPARING A BIBLE STUDY Watch Video 1, The Unprepared Bible Study Leader You are or soon will become a Bible study leader for your small group.
Day 29 SCRIPTURE: TO YOU, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, IN YOU I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait FOR YOU will be ashamed; those
A is simply 1-2 paragraphs of what you believe about God, faith, Jesus, salvation, etc. Every Confirmation student will pick out a Confirmation verse as a basis of their faith statement. You can use one
JUDGMENT DAY And the Books Were Opened 1 And the Books Were Opened Hebrews 9:27 INTRODUCTION: A. Have you thought of the reality of the judgment day? 1. Judgment day is a real day! 2. Judgment day is a
Graceful Christianity: The Law, Legalism, and Love Matthew 22:34-40 A Sermon Preached by Ernest Thompson June 1, 2014 First Presbyterian Church Wilmington, NC Last Sunday we started a new sermon series
Lesson 2: Principles of Evangelism Introduction In our last lesson, we discovered that our identity determines, more than anything else, the success of our mission work. Who we are is so much more important
Bible for Children presents THE MAN OF FIRE Written by: Edward Hughes Illustrated by: Lazarus Adapted by: E. Frischbutter Produced by: Bible for Children www.m1914.org 2007 Bible for Children, Inc. License:
"God's Wisdom Revealed to All (Ephesians 3:7-20) by Rev. Jackie Stoneman Paul begins this chapter by reminding the Ephesians that he is in fact a prisoner. Because he has been preaching to the Gospel especially
Devotion NT270 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Master Becomes a Servant THEME: Jesus wants us to serve one another. SCRIPTURE: John 13:1-17 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for
Explanatory Notes: A DESPERATE CRY TO GOD FOR HEALING Bible verses: Psalm 6 NIrV Introduction: Are you in good health today? Most people greet each other with the question, How are you? We are happy when
Devotion NT213 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: John the Baptist THEME: The goodness of God leads us to repentance. SCRIPTURE: Luke 3:1-22 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids!
Devotion NT320 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Gift of Love THEME: God desires for us to demonstrate His love! SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time
The Story of God Year 2 OLD TESTAMENT Unit 1 The Story Begins Unit Focus: God s story through the ages begins with an expression of His power as He created all that is. Creation turned away and in this
12 Step Worksheet Questions STEP 1 We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable. The first time I took a drink I knew it wasn't for me. Every time I drank I got drunk
Lesson 2: God s Plan for Your Life Intro When old, many people look back at their lives and soberingly ask: That was it? To ask that question at the end of a lifetime is a great tragedy! When you choose
Practical Applications How to study the Bible for yourself Applying What You ve Learned A topical study involves two things: First, you pick a subject and examine all that the Bible has to say about that
STANDARD C - WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A PART OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD? Introduction Lesson 6: What Is a Christian Family? When God created Adam, He did not leave Adam by himself. God created Eve, and together
Funeral Service I *The ceremonies or tributes of social or fraternal societies have no place within the service. Baptized Christians should be buried from the Church. We begin in the name of the Father
NATIONAL BIBLE INSTITUTE NBI'S FREE QUIZ... "BIBLE: Basic Information Before Leaving Earth" Please answer all questions contained in the test. You will be contacted within a few days with your results.
Louisiana We are so proud to announce that we are 100% debt free! Praise God! We started our business with over a million and a half dollars in debt. God has been good to us and true to His Word. Brother
Jesus and the Counsellor in John s Gospel In Jesus farewell speech, recorded in John s Gospel (chapters 13-17) Jesus introduces the disciples to one he calls the Counsellor. This Counsellor (the name itself
18 Who Jesus Is LESSON 1 Finding Out About Jesus Who do you think Jesus is? Some people say He was a great teacher. Others say He was a prophet, a philosopher, a Western god, or a good man whose example
Title: MOSES: A PROPHET BECOMES A GREAT LEADER Space for Notes (Yours and ours) Theme: God s dealings with Moses gives hope to leaders and to oppressed people Bible Basis: Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NLT; Exodus
Spiritual Warfare: Knowing your enemy Job 2:1 6 Introduction: The Christian is not only a Saint, but also a: Child - Servant - Steward - Soldier! All Christians are involved in a battle, whether they recognize
Lesson 7 Character Study People everywhere, young and old, enjoy stories. Stories entertain us. But also they can teach us. We remember a good story. Jesus knew the value of stories. He used them to illustrate
Learning from Jonah Jonah 4:1-2 1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, Isn t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall
9 marks of A Healthy New Testament Church 1. Preaching What is it? An expositional sermon takes the main point of a passage of Scripture, makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to life today.
Explanatory Notes: WILL WE BE MARRIED IN THE LIFE AFTER DEATH? Series title: Topic: Marriage in heaven / heaven as a marriage Table of Contents: Message 1: What is the Life after Death Like? p. 1 Message
Theme: Bereavement Title: Surviving Loss Target Group: Mainly Church background Age: 11 14 Aim: Equipment: Bible Base: To raise awareness of the feelings that bereavement brings. Bibles, Lion King video,
CHAPTER 4 Jesus Teaches About Prayer Jesus prayed. He prayed for Himself, His disciples, and for future believers. He also taught about prayer. Prayer is our way of communicating with God whenever we want
2 ThaT you are going to be with God in Heaven?? If God were to ask you, Why should I let you into My Heaven? what would you say? Not sure? Then this booklet has... 3 The best news 4 You Could ever hear!
14 Section # 5: THERE IS STILL HOPE Discussion Guide Read to the Group: Adam and Eve made themselves a covering of fig leaves in order to make themselves presentable to, but refused to accept that clothing.
HOW WERE PEOPLE SAVED BEFORE JESUS CAME? BOB BRYANT Cypress Valley Bible Church Marshall, Texas I. INTRODUCTION How were people saved before Jesus came? Some suggest that people were saved by sincerely
Clean If Leprosy Covers the Whole Body Q: Pastor, in Leviticus chapter 13 of the Old Testament, it records about how the priest examines patient with a scab and leprosy, and concludes whether it is unclean.
Snapshots of Jesus Romans 1:1 4 (ESV) 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
What are you worried about? Looking Deeper Looking Deeper What are you worried about? Some of us lie awake at night worrying about family members, health, finances or a thousand other things. Worry can
Devotion NT224 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Woman at the Well THEME: Jesus knows all about us and He loves us. SCRIPTURE: John 4:1-42 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids!
Eternal Father and Creator Father in Heaven, Creator of all mankind, who am I, that You are mindful of me? You, O Lord, know the heart. You know the desire I have to please you. To cry out as did Paul,
Track I. - Consider Jesus Session E. God and Evil If God Exists, then why did he create evil? One of the biggest obstacles for people accepting that God exists is because of evil. Why? It is hard to reconcile
Devotion NT273 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Garden of Gethsemane THEME: We always need to pray! SCRIPTURE: Luke 22:39-53 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids. Bible Time
STANDARD A: WHO IS JESUS AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FOLLOW HIM? Introduction Lesson 3: What Is the Kingdom of God? Jesus and His disciples traveled about in the country where they lived. As they traveled
HOPE LIVES! We carry the HOPE of the World! November 2010 Featured Teacher: Rick Warren, Saddleback Church (portions from videos on his book: Purpose Driven Life) Life Group Curriculum November 2010 Page
Devotion NT231 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: Anointing Jesus Feet life. THEME: Jesus is worthy of all honor. SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:36-50 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids! Bible
1 of 13 Walking in Wisdom - Proverbs 22 By Bruce Stewart Before we even begin to open up our bibles and walk in wisdom lets take a moment to pray. Ask God to reveal Himself in these scriptures, to help
Homily Suffering as a Way to Relationship With God J. Kevin Maney, Ph.D. In today s OT lesson, we are confronted with timeless questions: If God is really good and is really in charge, why does he permit
1 The Gospel & The Scholars William K. Lewis Fairmont Presbyterian Church College Ministry Team For most of us, our college days are a time in our lives centered around study, research, and learning. We
One Verse Evangelism For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of is eternal life in our Lord. Romans 6:23 Advantages to One Verse Evangelism presentation include: It is short. It can be used effectively
Denver Baptist Church 2016 Bible Reading Plan All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training that the man of God may be complete, equipped
Discover The God Who Believes In You I AM LOVED The most basic fact of the Bible is that there is a God. He made everything that is, including you, and loves you with an everlasting love. God has loved
God s Intervention Acts 9:1-9, 17-19 A Sermon Preached by Ernie Thompson Westminster Presbyterian Church Greensboro NC June 5, 2016 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples
The Marvelous Ministry of Jesus Matthew 4: 23-25 Our text today is dealing with the early ministry of Jesus. He had just come out of the wilderness after being tempted 40 days of Satan. He had begun to
BASIC PRAYER Watch Video 1, Anytime, Anywhere. SESSION ONE TALKING WITH YOUR FATHER As you grow as a Christian, prayer will become an important part of your everyday life. Jesus Himself often prayed. The
Devotion NT333 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: An Example in Humility THEME: We need to be humble like Jesus. SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:1-16 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids!
International Bible Lessons Commentary Romans 5:1-11 New International Version International Bible Lessons Sunday, July 24, 2016 L.G. Parkhurst, Jr. The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School
SOLEMNITY OF THE HOLY TRINITY Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20 (These appear after the homily.) Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy.
Why Do Bad Things Happen? Psalm 76:10 Items Needed! Bible with marked scripture! Pencils/Crayons/Markers! Play Doe for each child! Various items you purchased at a store! 1000 piece puzzle! Safety scissors
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, You not only sent Your Son into this world to live and to die for us, but You also sent us Your Holy Spirit. We come to You today to thank You for sending us the Counselor,
Devotion NT267 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Second Coming THEME: Jesus is coming again. SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:27-31 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for Kids. Bible Time for
Devotion NT284 CHILDREN S DEVOTIONS FOR THE WEEK OF: LESSON TITLE: The Ascension THEME: God promises His Holy Spirit to help His children SCRIPTURE: Luke 22:44-53 Dear Parents Welcome to Bible Time for
BECOMING A CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS 1 BECOMING A CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS God created us and loves us so much He wants to have a personal relationship with us. But, HOW? one might well
LEADING A CHILD TO CHRIST LEADING A CHILD TO CHRIST Introduction: 1. 2. 3. Things to remember in leading a child to Christ: 1. Memorizing scripture. 2. Establish a key in your Bible. 3. Read from the Bible.
1 Being Present Luke 1:39-55 Presbyterian pastor Mark Labberton tells the story of one his members named Doris. 1 A very active woman with silver-blond hair, Doris was in her eighties. Every Friday morning