I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons & Review

B. Text of Rev 16:12-21

“12Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east. 13Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14For they are demon spirits making signs which go out to the kings of the whole earth to gather them for the battle of the great day of the Lord, the Almighty! 15Behold! I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays alert and keeps his clothing, so that nakedness does not walk around and people see his nakedness. 16The demonic spirits gathered the kings and their armies to the placed called in Hebrew, ‘Armageddon.’ 17Lastly, the seventh angel poured out his bowl on the air. And I heard a loud voice coming out of the temple from the throne saying, ‘It is done!’ 18Then there was lightening, roaring, thunder, and a great earthquake. The earthquake was so great and severe, that one of that magnitude had never been felt by man before. 19The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the Gentiles fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God and gave her the cup of wine of his angry wrath. 20Every island disappeared and no mountain was found. 21Then great hailstones that weighed 100 pounds each were coming down from heaven onto people. So people slandered God from the hailstone plagues because they were the most severe of his plagues.” (Rev 16:12-21) 1

The Sixth and Seven Seals and War of Armageddon of Rev 16.12 to 16.21

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung

C. General Remarks

“Those who fall under judgment here are those who have been given every chance to repent, and have refused. They have chosen to go down with the monsters rather than to suffer and be vindicated with the lamb. In the language of chapters 17-22, they have chosen the way of the harlot rather than the way of the bride.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 146)

“Though we are not able to immediately understand all the details of these dramatic judgments, the unmistakable impression of the Scriptures is that the whole world is being brought to the bar of justice before Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no escape from divine judgment except for those who receive the grace of God in that day of faith in Jesus Christ.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 251)

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON A “PLACE” OR A “BATTLE?”

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON THE “LAST” BATTLE ON THE EARTH?

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON A “WAR” OR A “SINGLE BATTLE?”

QUESTION: IS JESUS PRESENT DURING THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON?

II. THE SIXTH BOWL JUDGMENT ON THE EUPHRATES RIVER (Rev 16:12-16)

“Numerous interpretations have been offered for this bowl judgment. Some have been farfetched, and the historical school has in the past attempted to identify this battle with a previous major world conflict. But the most natural explanation is the best, which is that this judgment actually dries up the great Euphrates River, thereby preparing for an invasion from the East.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 245)

You can get a PDF version of this blog post and a handout for a small group by becoming a patron of my blog.

A. The Euphrates Dries Up (v. 12)

Καὶ ὁ ἕκτος ἐξέχεεν τὴν φιάλην αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸν ποταμὸν τὸν μέγαν τὸν Εὐφράτην, καὶ ἐξηράνθη τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτοῦ, ἵνα ἑτοιμασθῇ ἡ ὁδὸς τῶν βασιλέων τῶν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου.

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east.” (Rev 16:12) 2

QUESTION: DOES GOD ALLOW BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN?

1. The Great Euphrates River

The river is called the “great river . . . Euphrates” in Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7; Josh 1:4.

Two Old Testament prophecies seem to predict this future event of the drying up of the Euphrates River:

  • “The LORD will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot.” (Isaiah 11:15, NLT)
  • “They will pass safely through the sea of distress, for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end.” (Zechariah 10:11, NLT)

2. Kings from the East Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons and Review

B. Text of Rev 16:1-11

1Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven plagues of God’s wrath on the earth.” 2So the first angel left and poured out his bowl on the earth. Then painful and harsh sores appeared on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. 3Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. As a result the sea turned into blood like from the dead, and every living thing in the sea died. 4Then the third bowl was poured out on the rivers and water springs. As a result they turned into blood. 5Then I heard the angel of the waters saying, ‘You are righteous. The One who is, was, the holy one that judges with these things, 6because the blood of the saints and the prophets has been poured out, so you gave them blood to drink, which they deserve.” 7Then I heard a voice from the altar saying, “Yes! Lord God, Almighty! Your judgments are true and just.” 8Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and it caused the sun to burn up humans in fire. 9People were scorched with a scorching heat. So they slandered the name of God who holds power over these plagues, yet they did not repent and give him glory. 10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast. As a result his kingdom was darkened and people were biting their tongues from the pain. 11They slandered the God of heaven because of their pain and sores. Yet, they did not turn from their evil deeds. (Rev 16:1-11)

The First Through Fifth Bowls (Rev 16:1-11)

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung

C. General Remarks

“God will allow natural elements themselves (earth, sea, rivers and sun) to pass judgment on the human beings who have so grievously abused their position as God’s image-bearers with creation.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 142)

D. Opening Illustration

Well known Bible scholar and writer N.T. Wright, was cycling down the street one day when he came up beside a former teacher of his. Wright had studied the New Testament under him a few years earlier, but now Wright was neck deep in studying and writing about Rom 1:18-3:20. That section of Paul’s letter to the Romans is all about God’s wrath against all human wickedness. Wright confided in his former teacher saying, “I’m having a hard time with wrath.” To that statement his former teacher said, “Aren’t we all” and he cheerfully cycled off (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 141).

II. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOWL JUDGMENTS (Rev 16:1)

“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the seven plagues of God’s wrath on the earth.’” (Rev 16:1)

QUESTION: WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE? SEEMS TO BE THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE.

QUESTION: WHAT IS THE TIMING OF THESE BOWLS? FIRST OR LAST?

QUESTION: WHO’S VOICE DO YOU THINK THIS IS?

A. The Seven Angels

These are the same seven angels that are first mentioned in Revelation 15.

B. God’s “Wrath” Continue Reading…

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons and Review

B. Text of Revelation 15

“1Then I saw another great and marvelous sign in heaven. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues for they will complete the wrath of God. 2Then I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire and those who had conquered the beast and his statue and the number of his name were standing on the sea of glass holding harps of God. 3They sang the song of Moses—the servant of God—and the song of the saints saying,

‘Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, king over the nations.’ 4Who will not fear you—Lord—or glorify your name. Because you alone are holy for every nation will come and will worship before you, for your righteous deeds will be made known.’

5After these things I looked, and the temple (the tent of testimony) was opened in heaven. 6Then the seven angels who were holding the seven last plagues came from the temple. They were clothed in clean shining linen and wearing gold linen down their chests. 7Then one of the four living beings gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. 8The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and his power. It was so thick that no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were complete.” (Rev 15:1-8) 1

The Song of Moses and Seven Last Plagues (Rev 15)

Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst Collection

C. General Remarks

“These events are the ‘seven last plagues’ preceding the second coming of Christ. As previously indicated, the chronological order of events in Revelation is presented basically in the seven seals (6:1-17; 8:1). The seventh seal includes all of the seven trumpets (8:1-9:21; 11:15-19). The seven bowls of divine judgment are included in the seventh trumpet. The order of events forms a dramatic crescendo, the seventh seal being all-inclusive of the end-time events including the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet including the events described in the seven bowls. Christ then returns immediately after the seventh bowl. The intervening sections such as 10:1-11:14; 13-14; 17-18 do not advance the narrative chronologically. Chapter 19 follows immediately after chapter 16 in the chronological development.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 231)

“We are honing in on the greatest showdown of them all. We left the dragon and the two monsters behind, two chapters ago. They have drawn many into their destructive ways. It is time, now, for the destroyers to be destroyed. This is the purpose of the seven last plagues, and of the cataclysmic judgments which follow them.” (Wright, Revelation, 140)

“Chapters 15 and 16 bring to consummation the chronologically ordered events leading up to the second coming of Christ described in chapter 19.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 231)

“Chapter 15 is a sort of celestial interlude to introduce the pouring out of the seven bowls of wrath in chapter 16. The former facilitates an understanding of the latter. It is time for what has been anticipated in the cup of wine (14:10), the harvest (14:14-16), and the vintage (14:17-20) to be delineated in its chronological fulfillment.” (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 228)

“The whole scene is very symbolic of what is about to happen. The angels coming out of the sanctuary indicate that the judgments to be poured out step from the holiness of God and are properly required of God, who must do all things right.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 236)

You can get a PDF version of this blog post and a handout for a small group by becoming a patron of my blog.

II. THE SEVEN FINAL PLAGUES (Rev 15:1)

Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλο σημεῖον ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ μέγα καὶ θαυμαστόν, ἀγγέλους ἑπτὰ ἔχοντας πληγὰς ἑπτὰ τὰς ἐσχάτας, ὅτι ἐν αὐταῖς ἐτελέσθη ὁ θυμὸς τοῦ θεοῦ. 2

“Then I saw another great and marvelous sign in heaven. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues for they will complete the wrath of God.” (Rev 15:1) 3

A. Another Sign

The words “another . . sign” remind us John has seen previous signs. Those are the woman in Rev 12:1 as well as the dragon in Rev 12:3. We talked about how the woman is likely the nation of Israel and the dragon is Satan. There are other views, but this seems to be the beast biblical view.

B. Seven Angels? Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.
  2. Greek text used for my translations is the Nestle-Aland 28 edition of the Greek New Testament
  3. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.

In this post I outline the four study methods that small groups may use. I have ordered them from the most difficult (#1) to the easiest (#4). 

4 Ways to Lead a Small GroupI. TOPIC

  • This is the most difficult and requires knowledge and understanding of a specific topic that can have many different views and ideas.
  • It also requires group members to be able to flip to different parts of the Bible, which can be difficult for new believers.

II. PASSAGE

  • A study based on a passage of the Bible is the second most difficult.
  • A LIFE Group leader will have to do a lot of preparation to teach directly from the Bible (time and resources).

III. BOOK

  • A book study is where a small group leader has the group each purchase a book that guides them through the process of studying the Bible.
  • Book studies can be focused on books of the Bible or topics within the Bible.
  • My favorite book study curriculm is Warren Wiersbe’s “BE Series” 

IV. VIDEO

  • Video studies are easier than book studies.
  • Only limitation is making sure you have good AV support.
  • My favorite DVD curriculum in Chip Ingram’s material available at Living on the Edge

This is a basic outline of how to lead a Bible study in a small group setting. If you’d like to receive copies of the teaching outlines that I create and use, you can become a Patreon of my my blog and receive those for $2 per month.  Continue Reading…

I am privileged to serve as the Assistant Pastor of Small Groups at Rocky Hill Community Church. Last month I spent some time with some of our small group leaders talking about how people “learn” in small groups. Here’s some tips you can use to help people learn in the small groups you lead. 

I. ACCORD: THE “UNIFYING QUESTION” FROM THE PAST WEEKEND MESSAGE 1

A. Reinforce the Message

1. Why the Message Needs Reinforcement

While my wife Jen and I were living in Texas we attended the Dave Ramsey course at church that was located just across the freeway from our apartment. In this format for the class there was about 150 people there and you were placed at a specific table each week with the same people. So, over the course of time you get to know those people. Jen and I were one of the few people who were attending the class that were not members of the church that it was being held at.

The church was a very charismatic and pentecostal type of church. So, while sitting there with the church members at our table I would sometimes make small talk. One week I was asking them about their church and how they liked it there. They responded saying that they loved hearing the Word taught there and that their pastor really brings the Word hard and delivers it well. And, when you leave that church you can’t help but be pumped up and rejuvenated for the work. I responded saying that that was great and that I was glad they had found a church where the pastor preached in a way that fed them. I then proceeded to ask them what the pastor had taught on that last weekend end.

As soon as I asked them the three people began looking at each other with a confused look. Not one of them could remember what the pastor had taught on that last weekend. And, this was “Wednesday” so they had just heard the message three days earlier. I really felt bad about that situation and told my wife that evening that I wished I would not have asked that question because you could tell that they were embarrassed that they loved what they were taught but that they could not remember what they were taught. So, I’m using that as an example that the “Unifying Question” (which I will define a little later) is a way to help people wrestle with what was said in the message and to help them find ways to apply it to their lives.

2. Good Questions to Ask

  • What stood out to you from this past weekend’s message?
  • What did you hear that you hadn’t heard before?
  • What have you done as a result of what the pastor taught?
  • How are you going to change how you do things based on what was said?

B. Encourage People to Attend

1. Small Groups Are a Part of our Church

LIFEGroups are the discipleship element of Rocky Hill Community Church. With that said, we want to make sure that everyone in a small group worships God in the context of the church as well. Most of the people who are in our groups are going to be from our church, but if you have some people that are in your group that do not attend our church, that’s okay too. But, they should be plugged into a Christian church somewhere because a small group is not a substitute for church.

2. What Is Church?

Additionally, someone might say, “But hey, the Bible says ‘where two are gathered in Jesus’ name, I am with you.’ The context of that passage has nothing to do with what a church is or what a church does. In Matt 18:19-20 the context is correcting another believer and prayer, not at all about church. With that said, let’s look at what the church actually is.

  • First, the church is commanded to go into all nations and make disciples (Matt 28:18-20).
  • Second, baptism is another thing that the church does for believer who want to provided external evidence of an internal change (Acts 2:38; 9:18-19; Rom 6:1-11).
  • Third, the church should regularly practice the Lord Supper as a tangible reminder of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us through his bodily death and resurrection (1 Cor 11:17-34).
  • Fourth, the church should be hearing the Word of God, wrestling with it, and seeking to obey what it teaches (1 Tim 4:13; 1 Peter 3:15-16).
  • Fifth, there needs to be some uniformity about what constitutes the Bible and the core teachings of it. For example, believers in the New Testament affirmed the Old Testament (Matt 22:29-32, 43-45; John 10:35) and now we accept the New Testament as part of the God’s Word too (Heb 1:1-3; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Rev 22:16-19). Furthermore, we accept Jesus as the Son of God—fully God and fully human—as our Savior, we believe Jesus is coming back, and we believe in a Triune God. These are all part of the “basic agreements” that constitutes a church.
  • Sixth, songs and hymns seem to be included in what believers should participate in (Eph 5:19; cf. Phil 2:5-11; Col 1:15-20).
  • Seventh, one of the elements of a church—the body of Christ—is that it is made of up believers that exercise their gifts. The passages that describe the body of Christ as having different elements are different members as being part of a church are in Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4; 1 Peter 4. I think we can all agree that these spiritual gifts are something that the body of Christ—the church—has and should employ. However, if we have small groups that have six people in them, there is no way for everyone to exercise their spiritual gifts. If you have the gift of hospitality then the person who hosts the group at their home is going to exercise their gift, or if your gift is teaching then the person that facilitates the discussion somewhat gets to use his or her gifts.

II. ACCURACY: CAREFUL INTERPRETATION AND A GUIDED OPEN DISCUSSION

A. Careful Interpretation

1. Leader Box

I always include several things in the leaders’ supply boxes every time they start a new study. One of the things that I always put in there is our church’s doctrinal statement. I often include a commentary or notes on some of the passages that might be more difficult to interpret or have the people apply to their lives. I try to give you tools to do that, which is why I really like Warren Wiersbe’s books because he has study guides small groups use, but he also has commentaries.

2. Pastoral Help 

One of our Men’s LIFEGroups decided they wanted to study the book of Hebrews just before I began working here last summer. Hebrews has some difficult parts so I was glad to know that they were tackling a long and difficult New Testament letter. So, I would check in with them every couple weeks say, “How’s it going, where are you guys?” And they’d replied, “Oh we are great. We are in chapter two.” Then a few weeks later I’d check in and say, “How far along are you in Hebrews? How is it going?” And they would reply, “We love Hebrews! We are in chapter four!” Then, about a month later I get a frantic email message saying, “Hey, we were in chapter 6 and thoroughly are confused! We need help!” And to that I said, “There it is. I was waiting for it.” I share that story because part of my role as the Assistant Pastor of Small Groups is to help you and your group when you get stuck. Sometimes there are parts of Scripture that are a little more fuzzy and you might need some assistance, and that is what my job is for.

3. Facilitator Preparation

And, you don’t have to wait till the group meets and gets stuck. As the facilitator you should always be spending a little bit of time in preparation. If you have a DVD for your group take some time and watch the DVD lessons and fill in the blanks so you know what is going to be taught and how you might need to guide that discussion. If you are using curriculum that is going verse-by-verse through the Bible make sure you read the passage a few times, take time to complete the questions, and think about you might like to facilitate the discussion.

B. A Guided Open Discussion

You, as leaders of LIFEGroups are facilitators, not teachers. You should be doing 25 percent of the talking. They are about the spiritual growth of people. And, that’s one of the reasons that people join a group: to get to interact with others.

III. APPLICATION: PERSONAL RELEVANCE FOR MEANINGFUL LIFE CHANGE

A. An Example

If it’s okay for me to share transparently here, this is something I struggle with. One of the great things about attending Seminary is that you become well educated and learn a lot of great in-depth material about the Bible, theology, and Greek/Hebrew. However, the byproduct is that you learn about a lot of stuff that isn’t really relevant to the everyday Christian and that does not have a lot of personal application for the believer. For example, when I preached on Phil 1:12-18 recently there was a section I wanted to share about the “chiasm” that is in vv. 15-17 where Paul mentions the good guys, the bad guys, the bad guys again, and then the good guys. I wanted to show how this was a literary device that Paul used that many other New Testament authors used. I also wanted to talk about the background to that text and how they are a couple of different manuscripts of that letter that have the ordered changed and that’s not a big deal. So I practiced my sermon with Jen and she said, “what’s the point of this? it doesn’t add to your message.”

B. Personal Relevance

So, with that said we want to make sure that each time your LIFEGroup meets that there is personal relevance for meaningful life change. This means that you draw the topic in and get the people to apply it. Now, if you’re using a set curriculum there are going to be set questions to get the people to apply it.

For example, in the LifeGuide Bible Study in John (written by Douglas Connelly) that Bob Ally ends one section by saying, “Thank Jesus for coming to explain God fully to us. Use some of the titles and descriptions from this chapter to express your work and praise to him” (p. 11). This gives an application for the person on her own to apply the chapter by praising God using the titles of the chapter questions. In the group you can have people do it there or you can encourage them to do it on their own. The most important element of this is that you have to follow up.

Just because they hear about something that they should do does not mean that they are going to follow through. Your job as the leader is to follow up with people on this. The next week when you meet, ask the people how they’ve applied what they learned. Never single out a person directly and embarrass them, but instead simply say, “Last week we talked about this. How is it going?” Real life change happens when we follow up on the applications that people say they want to make. Use basic questions such as, “What did we talk about last week that changed what you did or how you thought this week?” “What did you do differently this week based on our study last week?” “What personal application did you decide to make last week in our study and how did it go?”

Under the “Now or Later” section of the LifeGuide Study it says, “Consider some ways that you (as an individual or as a group) can be a witness for Jesus in your community. Plan to take one specific action this week to demonstrate Jesus’ love to others who don’t yet know him.” This is a great way to end your meeting and suggest to people that do they this. Then, when you meet the next week, start here! Follow up with them and ask, “Based on the application from last week, what specific action did you take to show people Jesus’s love?”

Question: Do you have any other ideas for how people can “learn” in small groups?

Notes:

  1. The three elements of “accord,” “accuracy” and “application” are copyrighted material of my senior pastor, Dr. David Ward Miller

This is my final post in the summary doctrine series. Today we look at what it means for people to respond to the Gospel and what happens to those who do or don’t accept the Gospel message. Like my other posts, I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Gospel and Hell

Gustave Dore’s “New Jerusalem”

Response and Eternal Destiny. Article #10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

I. BASICS OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

A. The Gospel Message Continue Reading…

Throughout my summary of Christian doctrine series this is perhaps my favorite study. Today I am providing a summary of the doctrine of Jesus’s return which is also known as “eschatology.” Like normal, I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide:

A Summary of the Doctrine of Christ Return

Photo Credit: Gustave Doré’s “The Last Judgment”

Christ’s Return. Article #9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.         

I. THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS

I believe in the pretribulational rapture of the church, seven literal years of Tribulation, and the literal premillennial reign of Christ on earth.

A. Pretribulational Repture Continue Reading…

Continuing my series through the basics of Christian theology includes some thoughts on Christian Living. I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide which reads:

Christian Living. Article #8. We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

A Summary of the Doctrine of Christian Living

The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt

I. SANCTIFICATION AND JUSTIFICATION

Justification and sanctification go hand-in-hand giving evidence of each other. Our faith in Jesus Christ has made us righteous (Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 2:8-9; Phil 3:9; 1 Peter 1:1-2) while that faith has caused sin to no longer be our master (Rom 6:1-14). Instead, our changed nature compels us to want to live in a Godly way (Rom 6:2-4; 8:29-30; Phil 1:6; 2:13; Titus 2:11-14).

II. HOW WE LIVE OUT OUR FAITH

Christians live out their faith first by showing love for other Christians and non-Christians. It was love that compelled God to send his son to die for sinners, and it should be love that compels us to have good relationships with Christians and non-Christians.

III. THE CHURCH’S RESPONSE TO THE POOR AND DISENFRANCHISED

Living out our faith means that we love God and love others. We love God by focusing our minds and hearts toward him (Deut 6:5-9). As a result of this, we also love others (Matt 12:39; John 13:34; Eph 5:25; 1 John 4:8-10) and care for others (Rom 12:10, 16; 14:13; 15:7, 17; 1 Cor 13:12; Gal 5:13; Eph 4:2, 32; 5:19, 21; Col 3:13, 16; 1 Thess 5:11; Heb 10:24; 1 Peter 1:22; 3:8; 4:9; 5:5; cf. Acts 4:32, 34-35).

The poor, aliens, and disenfranchised have been part of the entire history of the Bible and will always be part of the church age (Deut 15:11). Christians are supposed to care for these people (Prov 14:21, 31; 22:9; 28:27; Matt 25:31-46; Luke 14:12-14).

IV. SPIRITUAL WARFARE

This world is a fallen world (Gen 3:14-24) where Satan roams the earth (Job 1:6-8; 2:1-2; Luke 22:3; 1 Peter 5:8), has control over it (1 John 5:19), and is the ruler of it (John 12:31; 1 Cor 4:4; Matt 4:8-9).  Evidence of spiritual warfare between Satan and his minions against Israel and the church is clear throughout Scripture (Dan 10:12-14; Luke 10:18; Rev 12). Yet, with God’s Word (Eph 6:11-18), the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name (Matt 17:14-20; James 4:7-8), believers can combat Satan and his minions (Luke 10:17-20; John 12:28-32; Col 2:13-15; Heb 2:14-15; 1 Peter 5:6-8; Rev 12:11).

Today I take a brief look at the doctrine of the church. This is commonly known as “ecclesiology.” I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith. That statement reads:

The Church. Article #7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Church

Photo Credit: Russ Harlan

I. JUSTIFICATION, GRACE, AND FAITH

A. Justification Continue Reading…