David Roberts

David Roberts has attended Eastside church of Christ for many years and serves on the Education committee for Adult Bible Education. David teaches adult and youth and also works professionally in education as a Vice Principal in Secondary Schools Oklahoma City.
David has a B.A. in Education from Oklahoma Christian University.

Bible Basics – The Activities of the Church

In this lesson, we discuss the worship of the church, what it looks like, and our participation in it.

Bible Basics
Bible Basics
Bible Basics - The Activities of the Church

Bible Basics – Baptism

In this lesson, the discussion on faith turns to the response of baptism and why it is important.

Bible Basics
Bible Basics
Bible Basics - Baptism

Bible Basics – Foundations of the Faith

In this lesson, David walks us through different faith responses to the promises of God.

Bible Basics
Bible Basics
Bible Basics - Foundations of the Faith

Bible Basics – Salvation and Church Membership

In this lesson, David talks to us about the different beliefs about how one is saved and how one becomes a member of the church.

Bible Basics
Bible Basics
Bible Basics - Salvation and Church Membership

Bible Basics – The Community of the Holy Spirit

In this lesson, David finishes his discussion on the Holy Spirit (NOTE: this is lesson 3. Lesson 2 was not recorded).

Let the record show again. Thank you, David, for that reminder. Last week, we did not get to finish the lesson on the community of the Holy Spirit. And so we’re gonna finish that. I’m calling it part two, which means, of course, that the next lesson has to be in part as well. So we’re gonna finish one today and then start a new topic as well, is the plan. Before we do that, I think likely every week, I’ll just review the class description, both as a reminder to those
attended and if it’s your first time just to give you the scope of the class. We’re calling it the fundamentals of the faith or the Bible basics but the point is to think of these topics in a way in mind of how would they be received from our neighbors who perhaps are non-believers at all or perhaps perhaps have some religious associations perhaps even know Jesus in some way how would we think about these topics to communicate with them and in doing so I’m looking now at the class description on page one we’re going to review
rendered in proof texts, though of course we’re going to ground our study in the Bible. I have a few handouts here. And then as I just said, we’re going to think about these in terms of how they might be received or thought about from people with different religious experiences and backgrounds.
I’m being honest, I’m not equipping you for debate. So if you’re hoping to leave today with, I keep saying like, lay it down like a Uno card or a Domino, you can slap that on the table and win. That’s not what I’m doing. I’m not giving you that one verse, as I said last week, that’s gonna win over your Baptist uncle, okay, that you’ve been arguing with for 20 years, all right? It’s helpful to acknowledge.
that believers in other religious groups are smart. They know their faith often. They have background. And then also, they’re sincere. And the reason that I know it’s important to think that is that we can be certain that somewhere somebody is thinking of us that way, that we might not be sincere, we might not be knowledgeable, and we wouldn’t want that either. And so that leads into this other thought that I’ll read word for word. It almost always leads to pain and alien
when we assign bad motives to people in their beliefs, such as they disregard Scripture, they refuse to acknowledge the Scripture, they don’t want to submit to God’s authority, they haven’t studied the Bible enough, etc. Now, that said, even given that, folks can still not know and act on the truth. And a phrase I repeat to myself often for my own life is, sincerity does not substitute for truth. And then finally…
If after nine weeks you don’t remember anything in this class, of course in addition to the scripture, but if you don’t remember anything else, it’s this idea. When we’re talking with folks of different experiences and backgrounds about biblical topics, I would urge you that your first step is to seek to understand rather than to persuade. Seek to understand rather than to persuade. All right, given those, it’s kind of the bedrock of our study, we’ll jump back into part two.
community, and if you want to use the word fellowship or group, that’s fine, but I’m using the word community. The word elects can be substituted for the word chooses just fine. And that the community he now chooses, as opposed to his previous covenant, are those in Christ. So we established that. That’s our first idea. Last week, we established that the community God chooses is united in the Holy Spirit. So we talked about how the
Spirit works in the individual Christian and how the Holy Spirit works communally in our group in the church both locally and universally. And then if you remember, if not we’re going to post it on the web, I provided a huge table that listed 15 ways the Holy Spirit is active now. The New Testament describes the Holy Spirit being active in our lives and in the church. And so the one thing that the topic that I thought it was important to
especially when we’re talking with folks of other religious experiences and backgrounds, is more reference. Alright, so, we’ll do a brief review of the Holy Spirit’s relationship to miracles. So, now I’m at, I just restated the important ideas from last lesson. I took out the things we discussed underneath, but the first idea we covered in Part 1 was the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Remember, it worked really hard to establish an action.
in the New Testament between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And you’ll have some great ideas about why that’s important. Important idea number two that we established last week that the Spirit of Christ, that is the Holy Spirit, is the life of the body of Christ, the life of the church, our community of faith.
And then third is the Holy Spirit lives in both the individual Christian and the corporate church. Corporate meaning the whole body. Alright? And then I gave you a phrase. You won’t find this phrase as it’s written exactly in the New Testament. I’m being honest about that. But it comes from Dr. Hartman, previous minister here, full disclosure, my father-in-law, who says the phrase he uses to describe his view of the Holy Spirit, the one that I’m presenting here as well, is non-miraculous personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
I use that phrase sometimes when talking with people of different faith backgrounds and regarding miracles. So if you’ll turn to page two, we’ll get into the new stuff for this week. And we’ll be thinking about why, again, why we want to make sure we have an understanding of this topic as we talk with our neighbors who don’t know Christ or only know Him a little bit. So here’s important idea number four.
Miracles have been one way the spirit is observed among God’s people. Miracles came at particular times in biblical history to point to God’s saving activity and confirm his revelation. So we’ll just be point blank. Miracles are not happening now.
And I know that’s hard, like that’s hard for me even to voice because of a whole host of implications. But that’s the truth that Scripture teaches. So we’ll move through why we might think that’s the case, and with the Scripture as the bedrock of course. So I’m looking at the first bullet point under the important idea, and the first is that the list of activities of the Spirit in the Church represents what the Spirit does for all believers.
Everybody has access, every believer in Christ, everybody has access to that, every work on that table. And it’s an impressive list. The Holy Spirit is busy. The Holy Spirit is active. And so that’s a place that I start sometimes when I talk with folks regarding this topic is the Holy Spirit is not dormant. That is not the claim at all. And the Holy Spirit is active in our lives and in our church.
The central, so if you review the New Testament, the primary discussion of the Holy Spirit focuses on those spiritual qualities, those activities in you. But the human view, right, right, the natural human nature, the tendency, we’re drawn to spectacle, right? We’re drawn to the amazing, the miraculous, literally, of course, as some translations call it, signs and wonders, right, we’re drawn to that.
It’s hard to, I don’t want to be, I wanna maintain the same spirit of respect and dignity that I talked about at the very beginning when talking about our religious friends who perpetuate the idea of miracles, right? You can watch TV, that presentation speaks for itself, right, the selling of the cloth, the people falling down with the palms on their heads, things like that. Again, I wanna be respectful and kind and gentle when referring to those things, so I won’t spend a lot of time there.
But the point is, I think we can all accept human nature, even ours, we want to focus on the miraculous, the spectacular. How’s the spirit doing that, those things. So, if you look at the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you can, when we focus on it and we talk about it together, even to children, it’s, you might take away the belief that the book, the Bible is a book of miracles, right? That’s fair. That’s what it is. But,
The study I’m doing with Dr. Ferguson’s book makes it clear that biblical miracles cluster. They happen in particular times in biblical history. So I listed four here. Let’s look at those. The time of the Exodus and the subsequent wilderness, wandering, conquest of Canaan. The point is, it’s when Israel’s delivered and the law of Moses is revealed. Okay, that’s a crucial time in God revealing himself to his people. The next time…
The Crisis for Israel, presented by Canaanite veil worship. Elisha and Elijah, they’re doing miracles left and right, not to be cavalier. Then of course, the brief public ministry of Jesus. Three years, his public ministry happens and it’s miracle upon miracle. The Gospel of John says there are so many, they would fill books and libraries beyond our comprehension. And then finally, the Book of Acts records…
miracles as the church grows and expands. Now what we want to ask is, is there a pattern among those times? What’s the purpose of miracles? Because we’re operating from this, it’s not an assumption, it’s in the Bible and we’re going to see that here in Hebrews. The miracles are not miracles for their own sake. They’re not miracles for spectacle, just to prove that God is a circus leader. He’s not there just for
to show off. I really like this phrase from Dr. Ferguson’s book. He says, there’s a divine economy, right? The way that God has ordered the world. And he says, the miracles don’t call attention to themselves, but pointed to God’s saving activity as word of revelation. So it’s a fair question. And when I’ve discussed this topic with the teens, they ask me, like, David, don’t we still need that? Don’t we still need affirmation of?
God’s saving activity in his word of revelation? And the answer, of course, is no, because everything that’s sufficient has already been provided. The revelation of Jesus is complete. So that’s sufficient. Let’s read Hebrews two, one through four. Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable,
and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was, that’s the salvation, right, the gospel, it was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard again, salvation, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.
So you’ll notice it’s past tense and it referred to what God did to affirm the gospel, to certify as a witness to its truth. That’s been accomplished. That’s why miracles have ceased.
So, four quick bullet points here to help you provide a way to think about this as you converse with others. The miracles and distributions of the Holy Spirit served as God’s personal testimony. That’s not in the scriptures, but when it says in Hebrew, God bore witness, that’s a different way to rephrase that. Attesting both the messenger, Christ, and the message, the gospel. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit function to confirm the word of salvation.
spoken by the Lord and then in the book of Acts by his apostles. So here’s where it’s crucial what the Bible doesn’t offer. There is no New Testament promise that these miraculous gifts would endure. Rather faith, hope, and love will endure to the second coming. And again, which is important I think to finish, even though that’s the truth, the Spirit is still active and present in our lives and in the life of the Lord’s Church.
So that’s, that’s really good. Yes? I’m in construction. In construction, I was told an example of how the first century church was built. You have to build the scaffolding around the outside of the building to build the building. Once the building’s done, the scaffolding comes down. The scaffold being miraculous works and the things that the first century Christians had those miraculous gifts and abilities to build the church.
establish it and that’s what we have today. We have the established built church, the miracles being the scaffolding that had eventually come down in order to create that structure. That’s a really helpful analogy Joe. I mean that’s why we have Bible class. I’ve been doing this a while, I’ve never heard that and that’s wonderful. That’s a wonderful illustration. Thank you for sharing that.
So let’s pause here because I think it’s important to acknowledge the emotional impact of this discussion, especially because we’re thinking about sharing this with people who are living real-world lives full of suffering, right? Who have a host of experiences that they bring to this truth, right? First,
I’ll just tell you my experience discussing this with the teens presenting this to them. We focused on one part for them That’s that I think this group’s probably much more settled in there’s this whole idea That the reason there aren’t miracles in your life is because you don’t have enough faith, right? And that’s a really damaging awful teaching and there’s heresy. It’s just not true. And so I Got to work with the teens and teach them that I think it’s really important to understand that from a young age even before you Take on Christ and become his follower
would not have a miracle. The second thing is the students ask the kids upstairs they ask me, David why do we pray? There’s no miracle, why do we pray? Well and it’s important to be able to clarify for them, God is still active, God is still intervening. I mean listen to our prayer to start today. I asked God to restore and heal several people.
So what we get at is a discussion for another time and perhaps its own quarter or year or lifetime of study and that is what is a miracle.
When I studied this at OC with Dr. Jim Baird, that’s where we started. We defined what a miracle is, right? So I’ll be brief with this because we’ve got other things to get to. Y’all have heard the miracle of life, right? Like holding my newborn daughter in the hospital, I mean that word came to my lips. But that’s a natural process. God designed that. That is not a supernatural moment. Now, did it feel heavenly, right? Was it a taste of the kind of joy and celebration of the life to come? Small, of course, right?
I remember my high school English teacher who was a Baptist minister, he was at my wedding and before it started he pulled me aside and he said, Dave, I think weddings are a little taste of what heaven can be like. I don’t know if the Bible teaches that, but it was the point being we can have those moments that feel uniquely special and connected to God. That’s not a miracle. A miracle is supernatural.
Meaning it is an intervention against the laws of nature that are here present on earth right someone’s raised from the dead Okay, that’s that’s a miracle their heart quit beating and now it beats okay, so again we could spend weeks talking about this I’m trying to reduce a really complex idea down to about 17 minutes okay, so I appreciate y’all’s grace and patience in that but the point I want to again I’ll return where I started there. I got to tell the students the children upstairs of course
intervene, but the question becomes what is a miracle? His supernatural intervention is not expected to occur, but God is sovereign. I rest on that. God is sovereign. That’s a fancy way of saying God’s in charge. Here’s the third thing I would offer, especially as we think about evangelism.
And that is, I’m really proud of this group and the way I’ve gotten to know so many of you. Because I think there’s a genuine, sincere sensitivity here that I probably don’t even have to make this point. But just in case, I’m going to say it. When we talk to people who are suffering, it is not the time to talk about the existence or lack thereof in miracles. So I’m going to tell a really sensitive story, try to be brief. I worked with a gentleman, a faithful, devout Catholic his whole life. The term that he uses is Craio-Catholic, right?
born into their faith. He lost a child to cancer, a nine-year-old girl. And I knew him in his 50s and 60s. He was a devout, pious man. We believed a lot differently, of course, but the point is, good man, we talked a lot. And he told the group one day, he brought some kind of holy water he had had.
from Lordus. Anyway, the point being he brought a material object and he said when his child was sick he prayed for a miracle for her healing. And he said the miracle didn’t come for her but he was healed. That’s powerful. Again, that’s not the time to talk about the doctrine of miracles. Right? And again, that’s why I’m applauding this group. I don’t think I need to say that.
But even still, I think it’s important to acknowledge there’s an emotional part that comes in people’s experiences that we have to acknowledge, that we have to think about when we share these ideas. So perhaps the best place is when we can afford to have some intellectual distance, right? Some emotional distance from the time. I think that’s my practical advice today. Yes, David. Just thoughts.
I heard a story of a gentleman that had cancer on his, there was a tumor on his brain and
What they did, he had researched everything and everything. Well, what happened is they even went through the step of, and I think it’s James that talks about, hey, if somebody’s in need of healing, gather the elders, have the elders lay their hands on the prey for them. Well, supposedly they did that and
hand on his head and directly asked, hey, God, please remove this tumor. Well, he goes into the doctor and has it and the doctor is looking at everything and he says, you know, I see where the tumor had been there, but it’s not there now. And I guess, I don’t know, but I guess there’s two pieces that it goes like to that where
A, we weren’t there so you can’t confirm or dispute it. But B, I don’t know, it happens. When you say it’s a miracle, what do you think about that type of thing? You know, I’m gonna-
I’m going to be honest with y’all, I’m going to take the coward’s way out and just say we don’t have enough time. I’m just going to say it this way, David. That question demands so much more attention. Number one, that I can give it here. And to be super honest with y’all, number two, that I’m equipped to give. Okay? So, yes ma’am? Well, actually…
answer on that, but I’m going to wait.
And I think miracles are not dead through people and signs and wonders like this.
But to me, it’s very possible that two moments there and God said, you know what? You’re clean, you’re healed. And that is a miracle. Right. But I don’t think we can look for miracles.
people and people go through us like he did. But God is everywhere. He is, he can do absolutely anything he wants. And I don’t think we should ever, ever, ever discount what he’s working on and what he can do, what he is doing. That’s a really important, I think that’s a, again, I’m just gonna take the privilege of the teacher and say that’s a good.
finish to that conversation because I think I agree with everything you said. I think everything you said lines up with God’s character in the scriptures. Far be it for me to… I’ll finish with this kind of example.
You may know someone, our own brother, Jeremy Saylor, is open about how his life has radically changed because of Jesus, right? If somebody wants to call that a miracle, I’m not gonna argue with them over that. Goodness, there’s too much work to be done. The Holy Spirit is active in so many ways. We’re just gonna still have unity, which is a segue into idea number five. Thank you, Michelle.
So if we’re going to be the community of the Holy Spirit, if that’s what the church is, then that has some implications. I list four of them. I ask you here, are there others that you can think of, that you’ve observed, that you’ve experienced? If it’s true that God has chosen a community and that community is united in the Holy Spirit, what does that mean for how we live together, right? For the people in this room, for the universal church? Well, I’ve got four, here they are. One is…
There’s an emphasis on unity. If we have the community of the Holy Spirit, we are unified spiritually. The second is this really unique idea, I think what makes the church pretty special in many ways of course, is that the individual is equipped.
and the Holy Spirit is active in the individual’s life for the good of the whole. So that the church focuses neither on the sin and temptations of individualism, the idea that I’m my own man, I’m my own woman. That’s a lie. But also the sin of, what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, I don’t know. Not community. I had it on my head and it’s not in my notes. I’m sorry. But the idea, oh, a collective, that we lose our identity in the whole. That’s not true either.
loves us uniquely each individual is made in the image of God. So the point is the church is special because the Holy Spirit says the service of the individual is for the good of the whole. If that’s not what the gift is doing, then it’s not a gift of the Holy Spirit. The third implication is equality of believers. We are all the same in the community of the Holy Spirit. And then finally, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our community means that we should prioritize spiritual things over material things. Now we acknowledge the reality of material things. People get hungry.
miracles included reproducing bread and fish. Okay, but the priority of the community of the Holy Spirit is, of course, spiritual things. So we’ve got a few minutes. If you’d like to tell me or share with the group, what are the implications of being the community of the Holy Spirit that you’ve observed or experienced?
One of the things we sometimes will rely on as an eldership is the fact that each elder has a different background and a different work situation. But sometimes situations arise and so we can boy one another up because we have some experience that we can share.
when your father-in-law was serving as an elder here, that was very much evident because he would take his hat off. He says, I’m not the preacher now. I’m serving as the elder. Then he put his preacher hat back on. And so we would share those things. So that would reinforce, like the eldership does now, is we have input from each one that helps come to a decision. And I think that’s where the wisdom and understanding helps us group, too.
better than one so to speak. Thank you Ron. Thank you. Very thoughtful answer. Others?
One we just observed with David and Michelle’s comments about miracles, right? Like the opportunity to focus on the truth and to ask hard questions, right? Because we rest in the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit. We can do that. We don’t have to hide from them. Tracy. Thinking about Joe’s comments when he talked about the scalpel, I think it’s interesting.
Especially for kids, we’re driving by a big construction site. We think about when the Devon Tower was being constructed downtown. You have these massive cranes, and the kids look at the big machinery, and they think that’s all really cool. And the construction is really neat to drive by and look at the building going up. But when all of that is gone.
Now the building is there and whether you think the Devon Tower is beautiful or not, you think about other structures. You think about some of the buildings in DC or other magnificent structures around the world. They still stand in the church, the community of believers. Once the miracles are gone, once the amazing works are gone, the community of believers in the spirit are still standing there as something that’s been constructed and strong and durable
see if the world can come into for whatever services or purpose that that building has been constructed for. So here we are in the world today. And that’s our role is to be God’s kingdom and example and service to this world. Thank you Tracy for that very thoughtful answer. Yes sir.
was Mount Zion, the city on the hill, that shone across the world for all peoples to come to. And that today is the building, the church. And that’s what we have today. It should be. I mean, it should be the shining example for everybody. And all of us that are here belong in that building. And that’s what we need to show.
Thank you for that reminder.
Yes, David.
I’ll give you one. Whenever we’re together and singing praises to God, I don’t know, for me whenever we’re singing together and I enjoy hearing all the voices mixing together and you know that feels like a special connection to me at least. Almost a unifying force I guess.
Thank you David for that. We’re going to talk about worship in the weeks to come. We are going to talk about that. I appreciate you pinpointing those different voices, right? The church is unique in unity and diversity at the same time. It’s pretty powerful. I think I’d say the biggest thing that I’ve seen is kind of your discussion question is in the loss of a loved one. I think it seems like everybody goes to some…
faith-based organization even if they’re not to help and that’s how the Christian nation or the Christian community helps outside as How the community the Holy Spirit is A lot. I mean that’s what I think is the most frequent sign of how Community the Holy Spirit helps society. Thank you David. Appreciate that
Okay, thank you all. That will conclude that lesson. We’re going to shift gears here. It’s the same date, but now we’re going to talk about the title is The Church and Her Savior, Salvation and Church Membership. And by church membership, I don’t mean filling out the address card, but rather being included in the church, right? Becoming a part of that community. So, again, what I try to do here to begin is just outline my thinking to make it explicit, so there’s no question about where we’re headed and why we’re headed there with our aims.
So two weeks ago again, we established that God chooses or elects a community, and the community He chooses now are those in Christ. Last week in this, we established that the community God chooses is united in the Holy Spirit. So I think it’s a fair question, and somebody asked me that, David, why do we start there? Why not start with how you get into Christ, right? Start with the unbeliever and how they get into Christ. Well, number one, that’s not how the book I’m using did it. So I’m going to go in there.
going to try to explain here is that we started with the nature of the church, right? Like what is the church? And the answer to that of course is the nature of the church is informed completely and entirely by Jesus himself, right? Like the nature of Jesus. And so then becoming part of Christ answers the question of church membership. Those are the exact same thing. Being in Christ is being a member of the church. And so it’s fair to ask now, of course, what is involved in
This room is full of, I don’t know everybody’s situation, and I look forward to meeting you all individually, but most folks in here I know you’re in Christ. So you know the answer to this. We’re going to talk about it in a way I hope that reveals a few important things and also equips you to talk about it with your neighbor. Okay? So a new phrase we’re going to use, the church may be defined as a community, not just of the Holy Spirit, but of the saved. We’re going to use that phrase. The church may be defined as the community of the saved. The scholar who wrote the book,
I’m using Dr. Ferguson said, quite simply, the church is the people who are saved.
And where does that come from? Well, fortunately for us, Jesus in the gospel is very clear. He’s crystal clear about his mission. He says over and over again, directly, it’s unequivocal, right? His mission, Jesus said, is to seek and save the lost. That’s what he’s about. That’s his business from the beginning of his ministry. And so because, again, we are Christ’s church, we get our identity from him. We were lost.
Now we’re safe. All right, so I put a hat in here, our thought process for these first few lessons, and I just made these handy little arrows just to show you one thought to the next. I won’t read all over that, but if you lose track of where we are, just say, whisper to your neighbor, David’s getting kinda crazy. Okay, you just go back to there and you read that, all right? So here’s the question we’re gonna start with today. Why do people need to be saved? That’s fair, what are we saved from, right? And so the question,
super important. It requires us to describe sin and the human condition. So let’s do that. All right. I’m under the top of page four. There’s a box there.
And we really, I put it in a box just in case we had to skip it for the sake of time. But I told you all a couple weeks ago that the book that we’re basing this study on, it’s a really good book if you’re having a hard time falling asleep at night. I’m proud of that joke, y’all. But I put this box because this box woke me up. I mean, it was just, it tugged at my heart. I got emotional reading it because Dr. Ferguson got at the heart of what it feels
to be a creation of God sometimes. And so I’ll let you read over that. The basic point is he says human existence can be a paradox and there’s this dual nature that we have. And he says what’s really profound is the biblical doctrine of creation and fall that is being of God but also people who sin. He says that’s the one that’s the only really worldview that really describes that dual nature we experience. So that was compelling to me. You can take time with that box maybe between services or however.
however you want to stick it on your fridge, line your birdcage, whatever. So we’re gonna be in Genesis three, if you wanna flip there, I’m gonna be back and forth in some verses of Genesis three. But we’re gonna outline, again, why we need to be saved. To answer that question, we gotta talk about sin and the human condition. So we have time here to discuss four realities of human nature. These are things that Genesis three makes clear that after the fall, or as part of the fall, now all humans experience, okay?
of human nature is temptation. If you are human, you are going to be tempted at some point. Okay? And so, what’s really interesting, if you want to circle those three verses stacked on top of each other, those three passages, Genesis 3, 6, 1 John 2, 16, and Luke 4, 3 through 12, which is the temptations of Jesus. All three of those. They each of them outline three sort of fundamental temptations.
Some scholars think this is intentional, that Luke was thinking of Eve’s temptation when he wrote 4th, Luke 4, and that John was thinking of Luke and Eve when he wrote 1 John 2, 16. Some scholars think that.
Dr. Ferguson does not. He thinks it’s just a pattern revealed that it’s not intentional. I’ll leave it up to you, my friends. The point is, it’s a powerful pattern. And what it is is the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of life. Those are the three common temptations.
Dr. Ferguson calls them pleasures, possessions, prestige of the world. Three P’s there, handy mnemonic. But we’re going to land on the last bullet point under temptation, which is this. Genesis 3, when Eve makes the decision to, makes the choice to take the, prove the tree of life, the knowledge of good and evil.
This is the temptation. We want to be our own God. We want to decide what is good and evil. So that’s what’s going on in Genesis 3. That’s what we can really boil it down to. So that’s the first reality, is temptation. The second reality of human experience, of human nature, is sin. I really liked the way Dr. Ferguson said this. He said, if you look at my first bullet point under sin, the experience of Eve and Adam is everyone’s experience.
Every man is his own Adam. Every woman is her own Eve. Romans makes clear, literally all have sinned. Paul gets into a really thoughtful discussion of the nature of sin in Romans one, and he says the root of sin is the failure to acknowledge God as God. John is gonna say this about sin, and I think this is where we’re gonna, again, this is the fundamental. Sin is disobedience. Disobedience of who? God.
So temptation is to be our own God. Sin is to disobey God. And then what’s really interesting is that when you look at what Adam and Eve did when they sinned, they tried to hide, they tried to blame it on somebody else. Man, I’m right there with them. Amen. I could lay it out for y’all. If y’all wanted to test the money right now, we could be here a while, okay? In all seriousness.
That’s a common experience. So, temptation, sin, and the next reality is punishment. Scripture makes clear that punishment for sin is inescapable. And this is clear in Genesis for Eve and Adam. Now, I bolded these phrases. They’re really important here, especially if this is your first time thinking about this passage.
The curse for Eve is this, I will make your pains in childbearing very severe. With painful labor you will give birth to children. So I’m going to be super clear, the curse, the punishment is not childbearing. It’s the pain in childbearing. Childbearing is still a gift. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s the pain that goes with it. Same for Adam in Genesis 3. Through painful toil you will eat food from it in the ground. All the days of your life by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.
The punishment is not the work. Work is noble and good. Okay, it’s fruitful. The punishment is the pain and the sweat that are exacted from it. The point being, nonetheless, punishment is a reality. We can’t escape it. If you turn the page to page five, two more punishments revealed in Genesis three, expulsion from the garden, from the tree of life, and then of course the ultimate punishment for sin is death. You are dust.
to dust you shall return. Now I’m not a great you know I’m not some emotional preacher but if the story ended there it would be truly sad but we have redemption and that’s the fourth reality of the human condition. Okay so verse 15 in Genesis 3 there’s the
the revelation that the offspring of the woman, okay, some of the descendant of the woman, will strike the serpent’s head and the serpent will strike the offspring’s heel, okay. Pause here real quick. I’ve heard this taught, a lot of folks teach that this is a messianic prophecy, right, this is the first time that the Bible talks about Jesus. Dr. Ferguson, the scholar I’m reading, he says that’s not right.
This is about animals, it’s about a snake. So, scholars debate. The point is, it alludes to Jesus. Paul thinks that the same way, if you wanna go read Romans 16, there’s a reference to the snake. Anyway, the point being, redemption. Humanity will triumph over temptation, sin, and punishment through one man Jesus, the offspring of woman. Christ will be bruised by the strikes of Satan, but Christ will crush the head of his foe.
One way to say it might be that human beings will triumph over evil through the new Adam, the perfect man. Let’s read Romans 5, 15-17 here. I’m going to skip 16. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if many died by the trespass of one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ overflow to the many?
For if by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Amen. So here’s how…
I hope that these realities will help you as you think about your neighbors. And it’s in this discussion question right here. Was that the end of class? Wow, I’m committed to letting you all go. So just think about those four realities in it. The last part.
You’d probably be better served to read about original sin on your own. I was going to address that a little bit, but some of your friends and neighbors will believe that. But anyway, there’s a little bit about original sin and why it’s a false doctrine. Thank you all for a great class today. Really appreciate you. I’ll see you next week as we pick up on Christ’s membership in his church.
Bible Basics
Bible Basics
Bible Basics - The Community of the Holy Spirit

Bible Basics – Introduction

In this introductory class, David walks us through the format of the class and discusses the topic of “election” in Christ.


Alright, good morning. Thank you for joining Bible class today. Before we get into the material, we always want to begin by sharing prayer requests and saying a prayer together. Yes. They didn’t give me one of these, but I can ask Tracy for one. You’ve done a good job. Chris, will you go get a lapel? Thank you, Chris. They’re going to go get one, David. Can you tell them that? They’ll get one. Alright.

I want to make sure everybody can hear. I have a bad habit, I mean this sincerely, I have a bad habit of mumbling. And so it will not hurt my feelings if you just raise your hand or do this. I’ll know to try better. Let’s begin with the prayer requests this morning.

Let’s bow together. God in heaven, we’re thankful for today to be gathered together on the first day of the week to celebrate our risen Lord and also now to study your word. And we’re thankful that you revealed yourself to us through Jesus and through the word. Please guide our study today, Father. We lift up to you with thanksgiving for clarity and news about Wanda’s neighbor and also prayers that he was able to get the treatment he needs.

We ask you to continue to bless him and help Wanda as she lives out your teaching to be a good neighbor. We’re thankful for her. We pray for Jeff Estelle, Melisa’s stepdaughter’s husband. Thankful for a clear result and the opportunity to have medical care. We pray that you’ll guide him and remove that cancer and bless his caregivers. Again, we’re thankful for Jesus most of all. We pray in his name. Amen. Thank you. All right. If you would take a look at the handout.

You don’t have to, I put a lot more text on there than we’ll actually use. You may have looked at that thing and said, goodness, is Dave about to give us homework? What’s going on here? I just, I had a lot to put down to guide us and I wanted you to have a reference point really for the document. So let’s start with the class of the whole. As a whole, I think it was labeled, I’m pretty sure Bible basics. I call it Fundamentals of the Faith. Either term is fine.

The idea is that we would spend some time on some basics or some fundamentals, especially as doing so will help us talk to our neighbors who might be religiously inclined, meaning they’ve had some experience with the Bible, with church, or maybe a lot of experience, or maybe perhaps none, and they just have questions. They just know what they’ve seen on TV. The idea would be to work together to talk about some of those concepts.

and how we might then discuss them with our neighbor. And so that first section there, I say, I give you some bullet points over a class description, and I just wanted to clarify a couple things we’ll be doing. I have a handout.

would you mind giving the glamour of it?

Heather’s passing out a handout if you didn’t get one. Tracy just brought in some extras. And it looks like Chris, you’re efforting a microphone for me. I’m still finding one, yeah. All right. So the first thing I would offer, again, we’re talking about the whole next nine weeks. Today is the first of nine weeks. I wanted to just make clear a couple things about what we’ll be doing. The first bullet I put is we’re going to review spiritual principles rather than scriptural principles rather than proof texts. Of course, we’re going to ground everything we do.

talk about here in the Bible. But I wanted to be clear that you knew, hey, we’re not getting into…just a second…

That’ll help me too, I was getting a neck cramp. I leaned into that thing. All right, very good, thank you. I wanted to make sure you knew, we’re not gonna leave this class with me giving you that one scripture, then you’re gonna be able to walk up to your uncle who you’ve been talking about, the meaning of the Lord’s Supper with for 20 years. I’m not gonna give you that verse that you can go up and slap down like a uno reverse card, okay, and win that argument. That’s not what we’re gonna be doing.

little track principles in the scripture to hopefully deepen and broaden our understanding of some crucial concepts. And then that’s the third bullet I say I’m not, we’re not equipping you for debate. In my mind I have the literal debate with our Mormon friends from years ago or perhaps other conversations you may have been engaged on. I can even think of a couple on an airplane back when people on airplanes still talk to each other.

I’m fine with that change by the way, just leave me alone, let me sit in my seat. But anyway, the point is we’re not equipping each other for a debate. It’s more about the lives we live next door, maybe in some cases quite literally those coworkers, those family, those friends, those people on your kids’ ball team that want to talk to you about these things. It’s about conversations. And so the idea is that if your understanding of these fundamentals is deeper.

then you’re more comfortable talking about them with someone else. It is totally fine to say, let me ask my preacher about that. That’s famously how the Mormon debate happened, by the way. Bill Thompson said, my preacher should talk to you. And then of course, the preacher joked about how he said, well then, let’s get my brother to debate you. But anyway, I don’t wanna get off track. The point being, it is totally normal to ask for help or say, let me research that, let me read more. I’m unfamiliar with that.

But the hope would be that today, or over the next nine weeks, we talk about these topics in a way that would help you as you talk with your neighbor. Now I want to be super transparent about where most of my material is coming from. It’s coming from this book, The Church of Christ by Everett Ferguson, long time scholar in our fellowship. I will say it’s a really good book if you’re having trouble falling asleep. It’ll help you a lot with that.

Thank you. That was a joke. It’s pretty dense. It’s not exactly a pleasure to read, but it is really rich, and I’ve learned a lot from it over the past 20 years. Then the next thing I wanted to just briefly talk about is part of what the reason that Ryan asked me to teach this class is my own lived experience over the last two decades. For 18 of the last 20 years, I’ve worked in a Catholic high school. I’m an educator.

I taught English and now I’m an assistant principal. And again, for 18 of the last 20 years, I’ve done that in a Catholic high school setting. And it’s really helped me in being able to talk to people about topics of faith, as you might imagine. And so a couple of the way I would summarize my experience to help you, what I’ve learned essentially is that it’s been really helpful.

to make sure I always assign good motives to people for their beliefs, right? The other way would be to say it is not helpful when I’m assigned bad motives for their beliefs. So for instance, I’ve learned to, basically because it’s true that the folks I work with who’ve been Catholic, their term is cradle Catholics, right? I’ve learned that these folks are knowledgeable. They know the Bible, like some of them.

They know the Bible. And the other thing is they’re sincere. They don’t hold these beliefs just because their parents taught them, or because they hate Protestants, or they love pretty church buildings. I mean, those are unfair things to say about them. And so that’s that third bullet right there where I say, it almost always leads to pain and alienation when we assign bad motives to people and their beliefs. Something like, they don’t care about scripture. They don’t believe in the authority of scripture. They don’t want to submit to God’s authority.

They haven’t studied the Bible enough. I just think even if those things are true, it doesn’t help us to begin with that point. And here’s how I know that. Somewhere today, probably, there’s folks talking about us that way. Some other time, we’ll tell the Church of Christ jokes that you’ve heard about us. And so it’s…

it creates empathy to stop and remember, folks are saying that about us, and they’re often untrue, right? You know, they’ll accuse us of being literalists in a horrible way, things like that. And so if those things are not fair to say about us, then it’s really helpful to our discussions with our neighbors as a way to love him, to not then assign bad motives to him. Now, that said, I wanna make one super clear point, okay? People can still,

not know and not act on the truth. Like another way to say that is they can still be wrong. I learned early on when I began coming to Church of Christ and my own conversion process and moments, this is really simple. Sincerity does not substitute for truth. Okay. Sincerity does not substitute for truth. Now, I don’t wanna begin there. You know, I’m not sitting down with my.

my Catholic colleague and saying, you may be really sincere, but that sincerity is not gonna serve you really well in hell, sir. Okay? We don’t start there, all right? And I’m not suggesting you any of the way, but I sure just got your attention right now. So, the other thing, the other reason that that experience over the last 18 years has really helped me is that it’s prompted me to grow in my own understanding and really the clarity.

regarding doctrine, dogma, which is teaching from authority, the teachings of the Lord’s church. It really has, I’ve had to be clearer in what I believe. Now, I wanna pause and say, I’m not suggesting that that’s the best way to grow in your faith, but that’s even how the Bible teaches to grow in your faith. Everybody doesn’t need to go out and get a job or begin volunteering with a group that believes the opposite of us or doesn’t hold our beliefs or doesn’t root their beliefs in scripture.

That’s not the best way, it’s just that those encounters have helped me. I feel like God has redeemed those encounters in a way for me. So I came up with this analogy. Here’s the analogy for that and why, again, I’m really just giving you my own credibility for this topic. Here’s the analogy for this. We have Australians come to the United States with my family, with Heather’s family, and we talk about sports. And so sometimes I have to explain American football to Australians.

And when I do that, I start with something they sort of know, and that’s rugby. There’s a ball. You tackle each other, right? People get hurt really badly. And so I realized when I do that explanation, I realized two things. One, I don’t really know a lot about rugby, right? That conversation definitely crystallizes that. But I also sometimes don’t know all the rules and inner workings of American football. So that conversation makes me aware.

of my own lack of understanding or my own really, the word I would use, super technical word here, fuzziness. Some things are just not clear. As I do that, it makes me realize where my gaps are and then I go back and I study them, I ask questions, I find out and we have these really good conversations. I want to read the last two points word for word. I want to make clear as you think about it and talk to your neighbors, especially your neighbors that have religious experiences in the past. I never…

have to apologize for the truth. And I never do that. You know, I don’t hem and haw, fake humility when I tell people, no, the Lord didn’t design His church to have instruments in the worship of sin. I don’t have to hide for that, I don’t have to apologize. But as I said earlier, I also don’t have to pick fights. You know, I’ve been to literally hundreds of Catholic masses over the last 18 years. I don’t leave those services

who have been respectful and polite and say, man, I wish I’ll take that cross down off the wall. You know, this is not how to be a good laborer. And then finally, this phrase has served me really well. When engaging others who believe differently, my first step is to seek to understand rather than to persuade. My first step, seek to understand not to persuade. The example I’ll give is this.

When I started at this kind of school, I thought, and I said out loud, you folks worship Mary. I mean, that’s a common takeaway. If you only see Catholicism in pop culture, go buy candles in the store, you’ve been in Mardell, whatever the case. Well, I’ve come to understand through talking to these folks and understanding, that’s actually an inaccurate way to describe their relationship to Mary. Now I’ll pause and say, I still think there’s some misunderstandings there, but.

The point being, I understand their position and it equips me to deal with that, to have the conversation, to share the truth. Now I emphasize first step because we are also, if we have the opportunity, bound to share the truth. And so eventually the point is to persuade, to change minds. But again, if you think about your own position, what would it take to change your mind about a crucial teaching of the Lord’s Church? A crucial teaching of New Testament Christianity.

take a great deal. In fact, for this class I asked myself what belief of mine has changed over the last 20 years? And I would venture, maybe none, right? But my understanding is deepened and so forth. So my point is, eventually we do have to persuade, yes, but the first step is seek to understand rather than to persuade. I think that will serve you well. Alright, and then the last three bullet points on that very first page, I’m putting down what I hope the end of the time together looks like.

I hope that you have enriched your understanding of some of the important teachings of Christianity. I hope that you’ve become more comfortable in talking about these concepts with your neighbor and I hope that you’ve strengthened both your confidence and your humility as you encounter different and even false teachings. All right. Feel free to turn the page. So we won’t do that every class, but I did want to set the ground for where we’re going to be the next nine weeks.

Today it’s in bold at the very top is the nature of the church So that’s our phrase really that’s what we’re talking about the principle We’re looking at and the identity of the elect as a response to predestination So super clear here. I’m not going to sit up here and tell you why predestination is wrong Instead we’re going to focus on the scriptural principles that help us understand the true teaching

illustrates that predestination is a false doctrine. So I put it in one sentence, I’m telling you exactly what I hope to be accomplished when we’re done today, and that is this. At the end of the lesson you will be able to explain how God elects his chosen people. That’s what we want. You should be able to, if I did my job when we’re done here you should be able to explain that, at least in your own head. I wanted to start with a quote from

Dr. Ferguson and I’ll read it directly. It is not said in Scripture that God has chosen Christians individually. He has chosen those in Christ. He has not chosen who will be in Christ. God elects a community and the community he chooses now are those in Christ. A person may reject Christ and refuse the election.

So if I get too dense, or really, I mean, I’m going to blame Dr. Ferguson. If he gets too dense today as we walk through this, you see, I’m not sure, David’s gone off, he’s gone off on a rabbit trail, okay? He’s gone off the beaten path. You go back to those two things and hopefully that will clear up any misunderstandings. All right, the way, the reason I wrote it out and it’s four pages long, we probably won’t get to all this, but I just, the way we phrase it is, I’ve listed out essential questions in sequence.

like as we follow this topic and then I’ve given the answers to that. So for instance the very first essential question is what is the nature of the church and then I have some thoughts on that that you have there. I have some additional thoughts that I didn’t put put in that outline so feel free to mark on it do whatever you would like with it. Line your birdcage with it whatever whatever you want to do. Feel free to raise your hand and ask questions. Typically my class and it will in the future

involves a lot more audience participation, but this first one, I just have a couple questions to ask as we go along. But you’re always welcome to raise your hand and ask a question. Alright, so the first question is, as we talk about the nature of the church, is what is it? What is the nature of the church? And the beginning point for us as we think about this is, in the scripture, the descriptions of the church, they relate it to the deity. Some folks reasonably so are.

are comfortable with the word Trinity because that is not a Bible word, but you might know it by those terms. So if you look in the box there, the explanation, descriptions of the church for God, people of God, family of God, you might have heard those terms or used those terms. I remember the first preacher who taught the teen Bible class when I first started coming to church, his name was Alice Nichols. He said, he had this great lesson for us about

we can put on our sign out front. Did we have to use Church of Christ? And so we worked through it, and of course we don’t obligated to use that. We could put Family of God or whatever the case could be. So here’s some descriptions of that. Jesus Christ related to the church, you might hear the church called the Body of Christ, the Vine, the Sheep, Holy Spirit. The church is called the Community Field with the Holy Spirit or the temple in which God dwells through the Holy Spirit.

So again, the fundamental piece that we start with is the nature of the church always related to the Godhead, always related to the Trinity, the three deity. So then we keep moving along here. How is Christ central to the church? So what does the scripture say? And I marked Romans 16, 16 there for you. Christ is always preeminent when discussing the church.

Always. So these are just some various things that, various ways that scripture describes the church through Jesus. He’s called the whole body or when he sometimes the scripture just distinguishes from the body Christ is called the head. In the family of God Christ is described as as the son over the household. So he’s the elder brother. Christ is described as the husband of the church. And then here’s what’s really interesting.

is that Christ is often described as dual places in the same metaphor. So Christ is both the vine and the rightful heir and representative of the owner. He’s both. I mean, and that just speaks to his supremacy, his preeminence. Christ is both the shepherd and the gate into the sheepfold. And then of course, a great phrase, he’s the cornerstone of the new spiritual temple. And so, um.

I have a student, a class version and a teacher version. So I want to say this word for word. If the church is the people of God, it is the people of God in Christ. If the church is the community of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is the gift of the resurrected Christ. So again, the preeminence of Christ in the church. Third question for us today as we track this idea. What and who are the people of God?

The description of people of God defines two things. The character of the people and who their God is. So that phrase isn’t just whose we are, but it’s also supposed to describe the nature of us as a group. So the way Dr. Ferguson says that is the phrase people of God provided both the background for the concept of the church and served to describe a particular aspect.

That phrase, people of God, originates in the Old Testament, and God creates the Israelite nation. So these three questions are helping us arrive at our conclusion, and they’re really important to set the groundwork before we get into our main passage today. That’s going to be in 1 Peter 2, so if you want to turn there, it’s written on the page, but if you’d like to look at your translation or want to turn, we’ll do that. The phrase, people of God, will be super important.

Thank you.

1 Peter, the author of course Peter, he’s going to claim that title, people of God, which is originated as God interacted with Abraham and the Israelites later on. He’s going to claim that title for Christians. Here’s the passage. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.

that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” So the idea of people, if you want to turn the page, permeates the passage. I put people in quotation marks.

Because this concept is super important to the rest of our lesson, the way that word is used. So it’s really helpful, Dr. Ferguson differentiates between how we typically use the word people and how the Bible speaks of it. So in English, you work through your Bible in this. The word people is used for an aggregate of individuals. We’re all people here gathered together today. You might be.

you know, out at a party or something, some gathering, and say, how many people are here? You might be in a stadium, you know, watching a game. How many people are here? 25,000, okay? You might be walking down the street, see some guy in a feather boa and say, who are those crazy people, you know? Nothing gets feather boas, by the way. That’s your thing. The point being, that’s how we use people to talk about individuals, groups, together. But this distinction is key. I’m trying my best to explain it. In the Bible,

People typically means a corporate whole, one single corporate whole. So it’s a nation or a race viewed as a collective identity or entity. So in that case, you can truly speak of one people. Now we use that word, we use the word people in that way all the time when we say something like the American people or the German people. So it’s…

This concept is crucial to understanding why predestination, the idea that God chose some people ahead of time to be saved, why it’s a misunderstanding of scripture, why it’s an error, why it’s false teaching. Because as we already said, God elects a people, not individuals. So that distinction is gonna be super clear. And we’ve got it in 1 Peter 2, 9 and 10, Christians are a people. All right.

Fire away. Would you say that was defined differently, Old Testament to New Testament? No, I think it’s the exact same definition. So that’s a great- The great kingdom people in the Old Testament, we read that they are the kingdom of God, the nation chosen by God.

In the Old Testament, God did not choose individual Jews. He chose the Jewish nation. In the New Testament, choosing individual people. We choose the Jews.

church goes in Christ. Right? Absolutely. That point is crucial here. Like, that is the basis for this argument that we’re making. That God, it’s clear He chose people in the Old Testament as a group, and now He’s doing the same in the New Testament. And there’s actually not much difference how He does that. We’re going to see, I’m going to try to walk you through that discussion here. So

As we move forward then, we have some questions about this people God has chosen. And the first is, who does the electing? We’ve got to establish that, right? And it’s really simple, it’s a nice Sunday school answer.

By that I mean, you know how in Sunday school the answer to every question is always God or Jesus, right? My daughter can tell you that. So it’s true in this case. Who elects the people? God elects. Okay? And this has some really important implications for our own identity, like how we feel about ourselves, both as a group and individually. And so the most important thing said about this people, this new people in 1 Peter 2 10 is that it is God’s.

And the key there is that the emphasis falls on God’s work, His activity, His choosing, His possession. He is the one who made it a people.

There’s this really great phrase you may want to write down that I encountered in my preparation by a scholar Paul D Hansen. He says that that God’s people are the divine possession and that really stuck with me. We are the divine possession. And then I want to dig into the scripture just a little bit verse 10. This is quoting Hosea 2 23.

And Peter’s going to use the parallelism, that means the mirrored structure of Hebrew poetry. And he’s going to, what he does there in verse 10 is he’s going to make the idea of being made a people equivocal to receiving God’s mercy. So if you read verse 10 again, if I could.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people, that’s since, or, sorry, clause one. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. That structure indicates those are parallel or mirrored ideas. They are expressing the same thing. So I’ll say it again. Being made a people is to receive mercy. So this is, hearing it this way was really important for me.

God saved you as a person, right? Like when Amanda Ziegler got baptized, Jesus’ blood saved her, right? Individually, that happened. But God’s plan from the beginning was not just to save Amanda, it was to create a community. That is essential to what he did, okay? And so that’s really, really important.

God’s saving grace, his mercy isn’t just to save individuals, but it’s to create a community. And so I ask you this question, for the first time I turn it over to y’all a little kid. How might the answer to this question, who elects the people? How might that matter to those outside the church? By the way, I’m not looking for a single answer if I were out to tell you. I’m interested in your thoughts. Who elects the people?

How might the answer to that question matter to those outside of the church?

provides them a sense of belonging. So if you feel like you’re lost, disconnected, things aren’t going right, you see this community of people, maybe it brings in that sense of belonging to them, something that they want. Amen, Chris. Chris said, it creates a sense of belonging for them if they’re feeling outside, lonely, isolated. The answer to that question creates a sense of belonging, says here’s a place that I can be part of.

But if you think of the terms of election, it is a choice. Once you made that choice, you made an election. God recognizes that, if you will. And so he takes the elect because you made that choice to become God’s people, if you will, in that sense.

Ron, that’s a powerful statement about how we’re affirmed in our choice. The literal creator of the universe is affirming that choice. Thank you. Well, you may be speaking to someone who has been veiled by humans a lot. And so knowing that it’s not a human electing these people or in charge of any of it, and it’s something way more powerful than that, takes that kind of, I don’t know.

It just makes it feel better for them if they’ve been failed by our people. Thank you, Amanda, well said.

One of the best examples I can think of is this. I was thinking about some Old Testament examples. We brought that up earlier, and of course, the huge parallel there. You think about Rachel, first of all, who she denied her own people and chose to believe in the story she had heard about Yahweh bringing the Israelites across. She chose to follow them. But also think about Ruth. And she was outside of that chosen people. She was a Moabite woman.

outside of God’s chosen people, but when she married Naomi’s son and then her husband died and Naomi was going back and she made that statement, I will go where you go, I’ll live where you live, your people will be my people and your God will be my God, the Jewish people had that whole proselyte process where someone who wasn’t a Jew could still join the nation and become a benefactor of the blessings of God and the mercies of God.

not be outside his mercy, suffering, his wrath. And that’s kind of where the people are today. When they choose to, our God, the God of the kingdom, the church, Christ, will be there, then they step into that and become part of that chosen elect. And so, I think that story of Ruth is a good parallel. Thank you, thank you for making that connection, Forrest Tracey. I’ll sum up this point before we move to the next question.

We can find our identity as persons only in community. And we know that because God created the church, like that was His design. Any other teaching is ignorant of human nature. To use a secular term, we cannot be self-actualized by ourselves. We can only become fully who God created us to be in community. And of course that community is the church.

Working with young people and you’re raising kids and grandkids and so forth, and even people in this room, there’s a lot of questions today about where does your identity come from? Who are you? Young people, Generation Z, Generation Alpha, they’re always asking themselves that question. And they’ve got a lot of sources telling them where it can come from. But as part of God’s people, our identity comes from being His. All right.

They are a group. We are a group. Baptized believers are added to us as a group, as a people, as a corporate entity. Thank you, Wes. That’s a good transition to the next question. Who does God elect? God elects a community. And this is the pattern. This is going to be the answer to David’s question about the Old Testament. Where do we see this? So.

God has this pattern of choosing an individual that then leads to choosing a people. Here’s what I mean. The biblical doctrine of election. Just so you know, the words election and chosen are interchangeable. It’s the same Greek word. Most of the references in the Bible to God’s election, hearing that phrase, have to do with the choice of a group.

corporate relations. So the first, we’re going to see the pattern here. The first would be Abraham. God chose Abraham. He spoke to him directly, no one else. But who was chosen through Abraham? His descendants. That’s absolutely clear, right? Okay. How about Jacob, or of course his name changed to Israel? God chose him to be the father of the nation, literally. But he chose all in him. All the descendants of Jacob.

are part of that group. The promises made to Abraham go through Isaac to Jacob. You can even go to the scripture, Deuteronomy 7.6 does that. There’s another example with Levi. God chooses Levi to have a special role, but then that promise is made to Levi and his whole family. All the descendants of Levi were to be the priests of the kingdom.

And then in David, God chooses David, but that promise holds true for David’s descendants, right? All the way up to Jesus in Matthew 1. So we’re not spending a lot of time here because I think the point and the pattern is clear. I put it in bold. In all four cases, the choice by God of an individual was the choice by God of a group, the descendants of the person chosen. Right?

And, to a point made earlier, in all four of those cases, people can make the choice to live outside of that. David’s descendants, were all of them faithful to the covenant? No, absolutely not. Jeroboam won. Rejects God outright. The Israelites, there were many individual Israelites that did not live faithful to the covenant. That did not elect, as Ron said, to be part of that group.

So again, this is a super important point. I think the pattern is clear. The individual leads to the community. And so the transition to Christ to me is clear. How does God now elect? That’s how we did it in the old covenant, how to do it in the new covenant, this new kingdom. God now elects in Christ. Over and over again, the scriptural principle is the elect people are those in Christ. Hence the importance of being in Christ. And this is really important.

Christians receive our election from Christ’s election. Who now is the single individual through whom the elect people become chosen? It is Christ. In the same way that Abraham’s descendants were part of the elect, in the same way that Jacob’s descendants were part of the elect, in the same way that David’s descendants are part of the elect. Now, Christ’s descendants are part of, are the elect. So I wrote it this way. There’s a clear pattern.

God chose Abraham and all in him and so forth. The election of Christ entails the election of those in him. And so what’s fascinating is if you look at this set of scriptures here, these words that are foreknown, predestined, love before the foundation of the world, those phrases, which I’ll be honest with me, as I think about talking with people who believe in predestination, those are the phrases that give us the most trouble, right? Like it literally says predestined, David.

Like you’re the one playing with words here. Well, this pattern to me is really revelatory. That same word or language is used to speak about Christ and about his people. So the plan for Christ to be the founder of the elect, the supreme of the elect, that’s what’s predestined. Not the individuals in it, but that the people would exist. Okay, so Christians are in Christ as Jews are in Abraham.

and humanity is in Adam. God chose a category. So here’s the bolded statement at the end of that box. The emphasis is that Christ’s election occurred in Christ. Those who are in Christ through hearing the word of truth, believing in Christ, and being sealed with the Holy Spirit are those who are holy and blameless. Now, how does the New Testament establish that? Where are the passages we can think about and reflect on? You’re not

Don’t try to slap this down like a domino, okay? It doesn’t work that way, but what are the passages that are gonna really establish that election is in Christ? Well, here they are, let’s read those. I think it’s important. First Thessalonians one, four and five. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you. Because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. This is the key phrase.

He has chosen you because our message of the gospel came to you. Second Thessalonians 2, 13, 14, it’s on the page as well. But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our gospel so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God shows you through sanctification in what? Belief in the truth. He called you through what? The gospel, okay? Those Thessalonians passages from Paul. In the first passage, the gospel is connected with election, and in the second passage, faith, belief, is connected to election. Both of those center in Christ. And then here’s this wonderful passage from Ephesians 1 that really puts it all together.

I want you to pay attention to choosing election and how it’s always related to being in Christ. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of Him who accomplishes all things according to His counsel and will. In Him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in Him, were marked with the word of truth.

sealed of the promised Holy Spirit. And the last sentence shouldn’t be italicized, I apologize. The whole chapter is anchored in the historical events of Christ’s death and resurrection. And so I’m going to repeat it again. The emphasis is that Christ’s election occurred, excuse me, I should say Christian’s election occurred in Christ. Those who are in Christ through hearing the word of truth, believing in Christ, and being sealed with the Holy Spirit are those who are holy and blameless. I’ll say it much more plainly.

How do you get in Christ? You obey the gospel.

That’s how you become in Christ. So that’s the crucial point here. The analogy would be, David, just like you became one of Abraham by natural birth, you get into Christianity by spiritual birth. That’s Galatians 3, if you’d like to look at that. So we return then to the conclusion. It’s not said in scripture that God has chosen Christians individually. He has chosen those in Christ. He has not chosen.

who will be in Christ. Who makes that choice? Your neighbor. You. God elects a community and the community he chooses now are those in Christ. A person may reject Christ and refuse the election. So, simple pattern. In the Old Testament, God chooses an individual and then the people are elect through that. In the New Testament, that happens through Christ. The way you can become in Christ is through the Gospel.

And then there’s this quote I thought I would let someone else’s eloquent words finish, why this is important, why this is significant for the lives we lead, not just so you can, again as I said, win a debate. And John Howard Yoder from his article, People in the World. I’d like if y’all want to follow along with me, we can. The political novelty which God brings into the world is a community of those who serve instead of ruling, who suffer instead of inflicting suffering.

whose fellowship crosses social lines instead of reinforcing it. This new Christian community in which the walls are broken down, not by human idealism or democratic legalism, but by the work of Christ, is not only a vehicle of the gospel or fruit of the gospel, it is good news. It is not merely the agent of mission or the constituency of a mission agency. This is the mission. To create.

community in Christ. That is good news.

Bible Basics
Bible Basics
Bible Basics - Introduction
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