Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 3: Church Membership

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 3: Church Membership

One of the most important aspects of the believer’s life is the church to which he belongs. Church is where the Scripture is taught, where believers fellowship and encourage each other, and where Christians gather to worship God as a community. Church is a very important thing.

  • What are some ways in which people understand the word “church”?

Usually the building; a denomination, all believers, a local group of believers

  • What are the two ways in which the term “church” is used in the NT?

1 Cor 1:2; Rom 16:5 a certain church in a town, i.e., a local church

1 Cor 12:13; Eph 1:22-23 all saved people, i.e., the universal or “catholic” church

  • Read the following verses and formulate a definition for what the local church is.

Acts 2:41 saved and baptized

Acts 2:42 devoted to teaching, etc

Acts 5:42 preaching the gospel

Matt 28:19-20 going, making disciples, baptizing, teaching (fulfilling the Great Commission)

Heb 10.25; Acts 20:7 meeting regularly

Phil 1:1 organized with elders and deacons

Definition of church: combo of above elements

  • Are you currently a member of a church that follows this definition?

  • How do you become a member of a church? Acts 2:41

For new converts, baptism is the means of addition to a church. You would talk to the pastor, explain how you got saved and that you want to be baptized. If the pastor is convinced you really understand and are saved, he’ll schedule a baptism, usually after a PM service. After the baptism, the church votes to take you into membership. Next time we’ll look at the meaning and importance of baptism.

Unlike the universal church, membership in a local church is voluntary. One must choose to become a member of a particular local church. Unfortunately, some Christians choose not to.

For Discussion

Why do some Christians refuse to join a local church? They are disobedient; they see it as optional; they don’t agree with every aspect or philosophy of the church.

What about people who attend a church but refuse to formally join it? Same as above. They want the benefits of a church without the commitments involved.

Do you have to wait to find the perfect church, or can you join one that is slightly flawed? If you find the perfect church, don’t join it; you’d wreck it. Obviously, no church is perfect, and you won’t agree on every single point. But as long as the church is doctrinally and philosophically sound, there’s no reason not to join.

The fact that some Christians refrain from uniting in membership with a local church is unfortunate, for church membership is a good thing.

I. The Reasons for Membership

Though it is true that church membership is not explicitly taught in Scripture, the general concept is found throughout the NT. Consider the following:

A. Biblical precedent suggests church membership.

1. Believers were added to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47). They could not have been added to an organization that did not exist.

2. Records of membership were kept (1 Tim 5:9).

  1. Members could be removed from the local church (1 Cor 5:12-13). One obviously cannot be removed from something he is not a part of.

4. Members could transfer from one church to another (Rom 16:1).

B. Biblical principles suggest church membership.

1. The principle of accountability

The local church is the context in which one makes himself accountable to other believers. Members of a church are responsible to exhort, encourage, warn, and disciple one another. We should welcome and seek such accountability. Unwillingness to join a church implies an unwillingness to be held accountable.

2. The principle of commitment

The members of the early church had a sincere commitment to one another (Acts 2:41-47). The author of Hebrews exhorts his readers not to forsake the assembly of believers (Heb 10:25). Members of a church ought to be firmly committed to one another and to the ministry of their church. Those who are not members have little or no ownership of the ministry. No matter how faithfully they attend, they are not really committed to the assembly.

Most churches have a formal covenant that members agree to when they join. A covenant is an agreement or contract which lists the obligations members voluntarily take upon themselves. Such a document is helpful in that it spells out very clearly the commitments people are making when they join the church.

Pass out copy of church covenant and read thru it.

3. The principle of orderliness

In the local church, all things are to be done in an orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40). Church membership promotes orderliness by clearly identifying who is part of a local church and who is not. If one is part of a church, the church members have the right and responsibility to help that person live an orderly life. If a non-member is living a disorderly life, the church has no right or obligation to confront the person about it. Non-members are not under the authority of any church.

II. The Requirements for Membership

A. The initial requirements

  1. Salvation (Acts 2:41,47)

A dearly held principle of Baptist polity [explain polity] is regenerate church membership. That is, only those who can give a reasonable testimony of salvation are considered for membership. This obviously prohibits infants from membership, as well as anyone else who does not have a testimony of salvation. Many churches extend membership to anyone who cares to join, whether or not they claim to be saved. Why do you think they’d do that? In the hope that such people would get saved. What are the dangers of doing that? It could lead to unsaved people having an influence over the church.

2. Baptism (Acts 2:41)

Just as salvation and Spirit baptism are prerequisites to membership in the invisible church, so salvation and water baptism are prerequisites to membership in the visible church.

Normally, when one gets saved, he is shortly thereafter baptized. This is the clear NT pattern. The church then votes to accept the person into membership. If a baptized believer moves to a new community, his membership is transferred from his old church to his new one; he is not re-baptized.

If a person has a legitimate testimony of salvation, has been baptized, and has evidence of an orderly way of life, he may expect to be welcomed into the membership of a church.

B. The continuing requirement: an orderly walk

In order to remain a member in good standing, the church member must live a consistently righteous, although not perfect, lifestyle (2 Thes 3:1). Those who persist in sin and are unwilling to repent are to be excommunicated from the assembly (see 1 Corinthians 5). A church may discipline a member out of the fellowship for a number of reasons: doctrinal deviation, a disorderly walk, a divisive spirit, etc.

III. The Responsibilities of Membership

“Membership has its privileges” was a catchy advertising slogan several years ago. As far as the local church is concerned, this saying might be modified to read: Membership has its responsibilities. What are some of the responsibilities of a local church member?

A. Attendance (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:24-25)

This is not sporadic, hit-and-miss attendance, but faithful participation. A church member should strive to support all the services and activities of his church that pertain to him. If one does not attend, he can’t be an active participant. A non-attending member is a drag on the whole operation.

B. Giving (1 Corinthians 16:2)

The sacrificial giving of the members of a church finances the ministry of that church. The local church is both the collection and distribution point for the money Christians give. Members should seek to give a portion of their income to sustain and expand the ministry of their church. Those who don’t give are not only disobedient, they are not pulling their weight. Non-members really don’t have a place to give.

One’s own church, not para-church ministries, should be the primary recipient of Christian giving. Support your local church instead of some other ministry that is not directly interested in you.

C. Fellowship (Acts 2:42)

Fellowship is more than just social interaction. The fellowship that church members have with each other is based not only on their common bond of faith, but also on their common commitment to one another as members of the same church. Thus, if one is not a member of a church, the degree of fellowship that he can experience with other believers is greatly diminished.

Members of a church have made a pledge and a commitment to one another. They can count on each other. Non-members have not so committed themselves, and thus are outside the fellowship.

Attenders and non-members may enjoy a degree of fellowship, but they can’t expect the same treatment as members can.

  1. Ministry

Note all the ways in which church members are to minister to each other.

1. Pray for one another (2 Thes 3:1; see also Lesson Ten)

2. Do good to one another (Gal 6:10)

3. Serve one another (Gal 5:13)

  1. Forgive one another (Col 3:13)

  2. Edify one another (1 Thes 5:11)

  3. Admonish one another (Rom 15:14)

  4. Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)

  5. Teach one another (Col 3:16)

  6. Comfort one another (1 Thes 5:11)

  7. Exhort one another (Heb 3:13)

  8. Encourage one another (Heb 3:13 and 10:25)

Members fulfill these ministries (and more) primarily within the context of their church. If one is not a part of a church, he can’t fully participate in either the giving or the receiving aspects of these ministries. He really has no outlet for ministry within the church because he’s not part of it. He may have a personal ministry of outreach and discipleship, but this would be separate from church ministry.

Further, leadership is only for members. If one wants to be a pastor, deacon, or Sunday school teacher, he normally has to be a member. In fact, if one desires to fulfill nearly any responsibility in the church, he has to be a member. Thus, membership is required to obey the above commands.

Admittedly, some churches are very loose when it comes to whom they allow to minister within the church. Some churches allow anyone to be involved. We don’t.

  1. Membership privileges

The saying “membership has its privileges” is true. There are things church members can participate in that non-members cannot.

  1. The ordinances

The Lord’s Supper is for church members. This ordinance is strictly for those who have been baptized and are part of a church. The other ordinance, baptism, is directly linked to membership. That is, those who are baptized are normally added to the church.

Some churches have closed communion, others close, and others open. We practice close communion—one has to be a member of either our church or a church of like faith and practice. This is based on the order in the Great Commission: make disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching. The Lord’s supper comes under the “teaching” part.

  1. Ministry

As noted above, ministry is a responsibility, but it’s also a privilege. Knowing that the other members of the church have obligated themselves to minister to one another is a very comforting and strengthening thought. There are times when we need to be ministered to, and members should be able to count on other members to do so. Knowing that one has a definite place of ministry is also helpful. Ministering among a group of people who have committed themselves to each other is a real joy.

  1. Fellowship

Like ministry, fellowship is both a responsibility and a privilege. The members of a church have committed themselves to each other, and thus have a unique bond of fellowship. Non-member have no such privilege.


  • There are several reasons why believers should be members of a church. The Bible demands it, there is no accountability without it, and orderliness is impossible without it.

  • There are several requirements for membership. One must have a valid testimony of salvation, must have been baptized, and must walk in an orderly manner.

  • The responsibilities of membership include participation, financial support, ministry and fellowship.

  • The privileges of membership include participation in the Lord’s Supper, ministry, and fellowship.


1. Can you think of any scenarios in which church membership is not required for the believer? Perhaps when a saved person moves to a place where there is no Christian church, or where all the churches are bad. Then he should start a church.

2. Should a church ever baptize someone who does not intend to join the church? No, not normally. Certain circumstances may allow it, but not normally.

3. Should we have a negative, arrogant attitude toward those who attend but refuse membership? No. If we are charitable, we’ll see them as disorderly brethren. If we are a little more dogmatic, well see them as unbelievers. Jay Adams: “People who are not members of a church should be treated as unbelievers, because they are treating themselves as unbelievers” (LITFH, 18). Believers unite with churches; unbelievers don’t.

  1. What problems do churches that don’t have membership face? 1. It’s unbiblical; 2. They have no basis for discipline; 3. There is no basis for control or limitation; 4. Little or no commitment from attenders, especially when times are tough—people will be prone to cut and run easily.

  2. To whom in the local church is the believer accountable? (See Matthew 18:15-20 & Hebrews 13:17.) To one another and to the church leadership

  3. How does church membership make accountability possible? If one is not a member of the church, no church discipline can take place. You can’t throw someone out of an organization he is not a part of. The church has no influence over those not in its membership.

A Sample Church Covenant


Antigo, Wisconsin

(typical of most conservative Baptist church covenants)


Having been brought, as we believe, by divine grace to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior; and having been baptized, upon the confession of faith, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now most joyfully and solemnly enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ. As His body, we will seek to do all things to the praise of the glory of His grace.

We engage, therefore, as the Holy Spirit shall enable us, to walk together in brotherly love; to exercise Christian care and watchfulness over one another; to participate in one another’s joys and sorrows; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation; to provoke one another unto love and good works; and to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together.

We further engage to boldly strive for the advancement of Liberty Baptist Church in grace, knowledge, and holiness; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; to sustain its worship, ordinances, and doctrines; and to contribute cheerfully and liberally to the financial support of the ministries of the church.

We further engage to walk wisely and watchfully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our behavior; maintaining family and private devotions; bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; seeking the salvation of the lost; availing ourselves of the great privilege of prayer for one another and for all men.

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 2: Assurance of Salvation

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 2: Assurance of Salvation

Blessed Assurance–Should It Be Mine?

Another critical element of the Christian life is a confident assurance that one is truly saved. If a believer questions his own salvation, several negative results are likely: he will not tell others of their need for salvation, he will not actively serve in any ministry, and he will be filled with doubts, questions, and fears about the future. On the other hand, when one is confident that he really is saved, he will boldly proclaim the gospel, seek to serve in a ministry, and will rest assured that he is forgiven. Assurance makes the difference between a weak, ineffective believer and a bold, effective one.

After being saved, some people struggle with doubting that they really are saved. Can a person know for sure that he is saved? How can he know? Note several significant truths about assurance:

  1. One aspect of assurance is confidence in the promises of the Bible.

The Bible tells us that those who repent of their sins and believe the gospel will be saved. If you’ve done what the Bible tells you to do regarding salvation, you have God’s promise that you are saved.

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

  • How do you know that you can be confident of your salvation? The book states that one can know for sure.

  • What is this assurance based on? What is written.

  • Is assurance based on a fact or a feeling? Fact

John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

A primary aspect of assurance is simply believing what God said in the Bible. Believers have God’s promise that those who trust Christ will be saved. If one is confident that God’s word is true, he should also be confident that his salvation is secure.

  1. The Holy Spirit gives assurance to those who are saved.

Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

These verses tell us that the Holy Spirit gives believers a calm, confident assurance that they have been converted. This aspect of assurance is more feeling-oriented and based on one’s own personal, inner experiences. Subjective rather than objective.

While one should not base his assurance of salvation primarily on inner feelings of peace and security, such an inner calmness and confidence is one aspect of assurance.

  1. Evidence of salvation will always follow true conversion. New creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) will give evidence of their new spiritual state by a radical change in attitudes and behaviors. Lack of spiritual fruit, or the wrong kind of fruit, is evidence of a lost condition (Matt 7:15-20).

Evidences of salvation from 1 John: true believers

  • walk in the light (1:6-7). They display Christ-like behaviors and attitudes.

  • are sensitive about sin. They confess and forsake it (1:8-10).

  • are obedient (2:3-5, 29). The general trend or pattern in a genuine believer’s life is obedience and holiness, not rebellion and worldliness.

  • love the things of God rather than the things of the world (2:15-17).

  • love other believers (3:10-15, 5:1-2). Genuine believers find true fellowship with other believers rather than with the unsaved crowd.

  • are committed to a doctrinally-sound church (2:19). True believers maintain unity with a group of orthodox believers in a church.

  • affirm sound doctrine (2:20-23). They are orthodox.

  • follow after holiness (2:29, 3:6-9). They are not sinless, but they are striving to cease from sin and follow the Lord.

Those who have such evidence in their lives can be assured that they are saved. Those who lack such evidence should seriously question the validity of their profession.

True believers will persevere (continue on) in faith and in good works. These evidences will continue in a genuine believer’s life. If one becomes unorthodox in his belief or if he fails to maintain the works required for a Christian, he has no reason to be assured of his salvation. True believers often do backslide for a time, but they will not ultimately reject Christ.

A person can know for sure that he is saved. It’s not a matter of “hope so” or “maybe so.” It’s a firm conviction based on God’s Word. If one has turned to Christ in faith, believes the right doctrine, displays clear evidence of salvation through his lifestyle, and enjoys the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit, one can be assured that he truly is saved. Such assurance will likely not surface until some time after salvation. Assurance is like fruit—it takes a while to develop and mature. Some time must pass for the evidences of salvation to start displaying themselves. But if one is truly saved, such assurance will arrive. Until this kind of evidence arrives, it’s unwise and counterproductive to assure a person that he is saved. Rather, if there is little or no evidence, the person should doubt his salvation. This is why it is unwise to assure a new convert that he is really saved right after his decision to be saved. It may be a false profession. Time will tell whether he was sincere.

Decisions and Assurance

Evangelists should invite people to make a decision to repent of sin and believe the Gospel. Unfortunately, people tend to look back on their decision and the surrounding circumstances as the basis of their salvation. Rather than trusting Christ, they trust their decision and/or the experience associated with it. For example, one might think, “I had some experience (walked an aisle, signed a card, raised my hand) at some time in the past, so I must be saved.” Some even suggest writing the date on a wooden stake and pounding it into the ground as a reminder of that decision. If one ever doubts his salvation, he simply looks at the stake and reassures himself.

Salvation is our decision, at least from a human perspective. But we must not lose sight of the fact that God initiates and carries through salvation, not man. We must not look back on our decision, or any accompanying activity, to give us assurance of salvation. Instead, the basis of our assurance must be our current state of belief (Am I orthodox in my belief? Am I trusting Jesus Christ alone as my Lord and Savior?), behavior (Am I striving to live a Christ-honoring life? Am I growing in the Christian life?), and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14-16). Only those who have evidence (fruit) have a basis for assurance.

Note: Assurance of salvation is not the same as eternal security. Assurance deals with one’s own personal conviction, based on biblical evidence, that he is truly saved. Eternal security is the objective truth that all those who genuinely trust in Christ for salvation will be saved and cannot lose their salvation. Once a person is saved, he cannot ever be lost. The idea that a genuine believer is eternally secure should strengthen one’s assurance of salvation. The two ideas do work together, but they are separate doctrines. A genuine believer is eternally secure, but he may or may not have assurance of salvation.

Conclusion: Believers can and should enjoy a calm, steady assurance that they are saved. Such confidence is based on three things: the promises of the Bible, practical evidences (fruit) that typically accompany salvation, and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. If any of these is missing or questionable, lack of assurance will result. But if they are present, the believer should have no doubts regarding his security in Christ.


  1. What are the three bases upon which one should base his assurance? Orthodox profession of faith, evidence of spiritual life, internal assurance from the H.S.

  2. Why is it dangerous to base your assurance of salvation on the fact that your raised your hand, walked an aisle, or prayed a prayer? Those activities do not save anyone.

  3. Are we capable of judging whether anyone else is saved? Yes and no. If they don’t claim to be saved, then yes, we can agree that they are not saved. If they claim to be saved but are in error on what they believe, again we can conclude that they are not saved. But if they claim to be saved and have an orthodox profession of faith, then we may doubt that they are saved, but we can’t know for sure.

  4. What if I don’t feel saved? Salv. is not based on feelings/emotions. On the other hand, if you doubt your salvation, you need to re-evaluate whether or not you are truly saved. Salvation is not emotion based, but there is an emotional, “feeling” aspect to assurance. If the evidence is not there, the feeling will likely not be there, either.

  5. Can a saved person ever lose salvation? No. A saved person will persevere in faith and in good works. If not, they never were saved to begin with. Lots of theological problems associated with losing salvation.

  6. Why is it unwise to assure a new convert that he really is saved right after his profession of faith? Because it’s very easy to make a false/empty profession of faith. Assurance is the result of a process. It takes time for fruit to develop, and assurance comes from fruitfulness. It’s best to adopt a “time will tell” attitude.

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 1: Salvation

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 1: Salvation

We start Bible Bootcamp with the topic of salvation for a reason. Salvation is the first and most basic aspect of Christianity. None of the rest of the material in this series has any meaning for an unsaved person. Just like in the military, boot camp doesn’t apply to civilians.

It’s critical that we understand what salvation is all about. Some people think that doing good, going to church, or following certain religious rituals will eventually result in salvation. What does it mean to be saved?

Salvation is not:

  • based on works Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5 Can’t earn it or work for it. Not baptism, communion, etc.

  • based on nationality Romans 10:12-13 Doesn’t matter what your family background is.

Salvation is:

  • a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23)

  • based on God’s grace (same verses)

What is grace? Undeserved, unmerited favor. I.e., kindness, a good disposition toward someone even tho they don’t deserve it.

  • based on God’s prior choice (John 15:16; Romans 9:15; Ephesians 1:4)

  • by faith/belief (John 3:16, 36; Acts 16:31)

  • eternal (John 3:36, 5:24) Note that life starts at salvation.

God’s Purpose in Salvation

  1. God’s original purpose in creation was that mankind should honor and serve Him. God desires to enter into a relationship of loving rule over mankind.

Jeremiah 32:38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel 36:28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Revelation 21:7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

The overall theme of the Bible is how God enters into this relationship with man, whereby God rules over mankind and mankind recognizes God as his God. If this was God’s original purpose, why doesn’t it work that way? What happened?

Mankind chose to sin against his Creator rather than honor and serve Him.

Romans 3:23 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

We sin by either doing what God has prohibited (sins of commission) or not doing what God has commanded (sins of omission).

Sin is a problem because it causes separation from God. God is holy and man is sinful. God cannot fellowship with sinful creatures.

Isaiah 59:2 Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

God responds negatively to sin. Sin always demands punishment. Sin causes mankind to be dead spiritually, under God’s wrath, and condemned.

Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death.

  1. People cannot earn, work for, or merit God’s forgiveness. There’s nothing anyone can do to turn aside God’s wrath against his or her sin. Good works, religion, morality and generosity are all ways that people attempt to appease God. But God is not pleased by any works that man can do.

Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

  1. What mankind could not do, God did by sending His only Son to be a substitutionary sacrifice. When Jesus died on the cross, he endured the wrath of God against sin. He suffered in the place of sinners. Jesus paid the penalty for man’s sin by dying on the cross in their place. He rose again three days later.

Romans 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; . . . was buried, and . . . rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

  1. Sinners may receive forgiveness of sin by turning from sin and trusting in Christ. The right response to the Gospel is to repent of sin and believe in Christ.

  • Turn from sin — repent. Admit your sin to God. Ask Him to forgive you.

True repentance is a change of heart and purpose affecting the whole man—intellect, emotion and will. The literal meaning of “repentance” is “a change of mind.” Repentance is best described as a turning away from sin and toward God. It’s a total about-face. It’s an inner response of the whole person away from sin and toward God.

  • Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Ask Jesus to save you.

Saving faith is the knowledge of, assent to, and unreserved trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith is knowing the facts about Christ, acknowledging that those facts are true, and personally believing and trusting in Christ as your savior from sin.

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

At the point of salvation, God forgives the believer’s sin and gives him a positive standing. All sin—past, present, and future—is blotted out and taken away. The believer is also given a positive standing before God. There is no more separation between God and the sinner. In fact, the believer is adopted into God’s family.

Note: There are certain costs associated with trusting in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus demands first place in the believer’s life. The NT presents Jesus as both Savior and Lord. Those who desire salvation from sin must also recognize Christ’s authority over their lives. It is costly to be a disciple of Christ, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

1 John 2:3-6 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. . . . Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

The Great Change

A familiar chorus sung in many churches has the lyrics, “The things I used to do, I don’t do them any more. There’s been a great change since I’ve been born again.” A major change takes place in the life of the believer at the moment he repents of his sin and puts his faith in Christ.

  1. Ephesians 2:1-5 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world. . . Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.

  • What was our spiritual condition before salvation? Dead, objects of wrath

  • Describe our behavior before salvation. followed the ways of this world

  • What does the author mean by “the ways of the world”? The opposite of the ways of God—sinful behavior patterns, unconcerned about what God wants.

  • What is our spiritual condition after salvation? Alive in Christ

  • How should this changed spiritual condition change our behavior? Rather than following the ways of the world, we ought to follow the ways of Christ.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

  • What does “in Christ” mean? To be saved. Paul uses that expression frequently to refer to saved people.

  • What is true about those who are “in Christ”? they are new creations

  • What is true of one who is a new creation? The old has gone, the new has come. I.e., there has been a great change.

  1. Romans 6:17-18 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

  • What does Paul say we were before being saved? Slaves of sin

  • How does Paul describe what occurs at the point of salvation? wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted

  • What is the current standing of the believer? set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness

  • How should this spiritual truth be seen in our daily living? Instead of living in sin, we should strive to be righteous/holy

  1. Ephesians 4:22-24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

  • How does Paul describe a person before salvation? The old man

  • How does he describe a person after salvation? The new man

  • Describe the difference between the two.

  • Old man: is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts

  • New man: is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Note: The great spiritual change that occurs at the point of salvation should be accompanied by a great change in one’s behavior patterns and attitudes. This is the most visible evidence that one is truly saved. If no outward change has taken place, it’s probably because no inward change has taken place.

Conclusion: The most basic element of Bible Bootcamp is salvation. Have you seen your need as a sinful person, turned from your sin, and put your faith in Jesus Christ? Those who have become disciples of Christ give evidence of that fact by a changed lifestyle.


  1. What was God’s original purpose in salvation? that mankind should honor and serve Him. God desires to enter into a relationship of loving rule over mankind.

  2. What is the correct response to the gospel? Repentance and faith

  3. Define repentance. Repentance is best described as a turning away from sin and toward God. It’s a total about-face. It’s an inner response of the whole person away from sin and toward God.

  4. Define saving faith. Saving faith is the knowledge of, assent to, and unreserved trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith is knowing the facts about Christ, acknowledging that those facts are true, and personally believing and trusting in Christ as your savior from sin.

  5. T F Salvation does not require any kind of commitment or loyalty to Christ.

  6. Why should there be a difference between an unsaved person and a saved one? Because there is a basic spiritual difference.

Bible Boot Camp: Basic Training in Biblical Principles

Bible Boot Camp: Basic Training in Biblical Principles

This introductory discipleship series will focus on the practical, basic elements of the Christian life. For those who have been Christians for some time, this material will be a review of lessons already learned and (hopefully) applied. For new believers, this material will serve as foundational truth on which to build a solid Christian life.

Note: This material is the teacher’s edition–the answers are filled in and comments (in italics) are included. To make a student copy, simply empty the blanks and remove the comments.


Lesson 1: Salvation

Lesson 2: Assurance of Salvation

Lesson 3: Church Membership

Lesson 4: Baptism

Lesson 5: The Bible

Lesson 6: Prayer

Lesson 7: Daily Devotions

Lesson 8: Separation

Lesson 9: What to Do About Sin

Lesson 10: The Lordship of Christ

Lesson 11: Proper Behavior

Lesson 12: Evangelism

Lesson 13: Stewardship

Lesson 14: Christian Growth

Lesson 15: How to Get the Most from a Sermon

© Brad Anderson 2006

Leading a Child to Christ

Leading a Child to Christ

By Mark Buhr and Barry Pendley

One evening, a man was startled to see his granddaughter choking in the driveway. He quickly sprang from his chair and ran frantically to help her. As soon as he reached her, he noticed a peculiar thing – her choking was deliberate. She explained to him that she had accepted Christ into her heart and wanted a better look, so she thought she would cough him up!

This true story simply shows that the gospel was not presented clearly to this child. This imaginative six year old took her teacher’s words literally. Since that time, that teacher has made some observations.

Say what you mean. The following phrases are frequently used by Christians when they give the gospel. However, to the young child, these phrases either give the wrong impression or no impression at all. It is the goal of the gospel giver to make sense to the child. The following statements by themselves are inadequate to convey the true idea of faith.

  • Ask Jesus into your heart (or life).
  • Come to Christ.
  • Give your heart to Jesus.
  • Believe in Jesus.
  • Accept Jesus as your personal savior.
  • Be born again.

Carefully lead a child. It has been said that children are the easiest to lead to the Lord. Children, for the most part, are easy to lead. To say that they are easier to lead to the Lord may not necessarily be true. It is difficult to stand by such a generalized statement. There are many factors that one should consider when leading a child to the Lord.
You are leading. Explain the gospel as clearly and as slowly as necessary so that when the child is ready to make a decision, it is of his own accord. Do not press the child to make a decision (manipulate) by saying things like, “You want to go to heaven, don’t you?”; “You want to be with your friends in heaven, don’t you?”, “You don’t want to go to hell do you?” etc. Don’t rush for a decision. Take your time! It is important that the child fully understand the message. If the child does not understand, he will be manipulated into an insincere decision.

When asked about how he would witness to someone if he only had one hour to speak, Francis Schaefer said he would spend 45–50 minutes showing him that he is a sinner who does not match God’s standard. Then he would spend the last 10–15 minutes preaching the gospel.

Will Metzger in his book [amazonify]0830823220::text::::Tell the Truth[/amazonify] notes the danger in approaching the gospel in a too simplistic fashion.

For Paul, the only right method of evangelism was the teaching method. Therefore, Scriptural evangelism has extensive – not minimal – instruction as its goal. In place of this Scriptural stance, since about 1900, a new method of packaging the gospel has now come into evangelicalism. We are to make the gospel readily transferable so as to gain the mental assent of the hearer. This has led to the idea of “the simple gospel,” which we all supposedly know as soon as we become Christians. But this approach encourages us to think of the gospel as a pill that will cure all. . . . Thus many of us abridge our analysis of the disease (sin), instead of taking time to expose the person’s sinful nature which creates the sickness. Our object has become merely to convince people to take the cure. They do not need to know the problem – just the answer.

Remember that the gospel message is the same for both children and adults. You may present the message in different ways, but the message itself must be explained. There are no legitimate shortcuts here.

Note some truths about the salvation of children:

  • The Lord Jesus specifically invited children to come to Him.
  • All who respond to Christ with understanding can be saved.
  • Children are saved in the same way as adults.
  • Children are saved to the same degree as adults.
  • Children can often understand more than we give them credit for.

You are a fallible human tool. God is using you to explain His Word. He does not give you the ability to read a child’s mind. So, avoid telling a child “You are saved!” Let the Holy Spirit, by means of the Word of God, assure the child of that.

You are to use discretion. If the opportunity comes to lead a child to the Lord during an invitation; be inquisitive. This will help you “weed out” children who only want to follow their friends, go to the bathroom, or do something else.

Don’t overlook the basics. Child educators universally recognize that children have difficulty understanding abstract concepts. Given that truth, many have attempted to boil the gospel down to simple truths. The danger is this: “Have they boiled the gospel down too far?” Some have. They speak voluminously of God’s love that they fail to mention the most basic elements of the gospel. So, what are the basic elements? In other words, what elements of the gospel are so important that if one fails to mention them, he has not communicated the gospel? The following propositionally lays out a solid plan for explaining the gospel to children.

  1. God is . . . the holy Creator who expects you to obey Him (Acts 17:24-27).
  2. You are . . . a sinner who does not obey Him (Ro 3:23; Isa 53:6).
  3. God hates sin and must punish sin . . . Therefore, sinners will go to Hell after they die (Isa 64:7; Ro 6:23; 2Th 1:8).

Christ is . . . God the Son who became a man and died on the cross in order to make one way of salvation. Since sin must be punished, you deserve Hell for punishment. However, because Jesus Christ was sinless, He was able and did take your punishment (Jn 3:16; Ro 5:8).

Therefore, man needs to repent of his sin. Repenting means that you turn from sin and follow God (Ac 8:22; Ac 26:20)

And man needs to place faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. Faith is knowing that these things are true, believing them, and trusting in Christ as your Savior and Lord (Ro 10.9).
The last two points, repentance and faith, are the most commonly overlooked elements in child evangelism. For proof, look at a number of tracts used for child evangelism. Rarely will you find these two concepts explained. If you neglect to mention the concepts of repentance and faith, then you have not communicated the gospel. Notice how the Bible repeats these themes in certain gospel passages.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Ac 3.19).

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Ro 3.22).

I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus (Ac 20.21).

Your goal as a gospel giver is to communicate the entire message of salvation. There are many legitimate ways to present the gospel, but if one forgets to mention either of these two elements, he has not given the gospel.

What should we say? We have noted some misleading (vague) phrases at the beginning of this study. Now, the question comes, “What should we say?” The following are helpful replacements:

  • You need to reject your sin and believe in Jesus to forgive you.
  • You need to trust in Christ and what He did for you on the cross.
  • You need to ask God to forgive your sin and trust in Him.
  • You need to seek God’s forgiveness and commit your life to the Lord.

Are there other ways I can explain the gospel? There are many tracts for children today. Not all are the same. Most tracts written for children leave out the concepts of repentance and faith. Be wise and diligent in your search for biblically sound tracts.
Children like pictures. Use illustrations that help them visualize the gospel (or elements of it). Whatever illustration you use, make sure that children understand that salvation only comes through repenting and believing in Christ alone.

Global Warming: More Than a Hoax

Global Warming: More Than a Hoax

The following are some quotes from those who believe that Global Warming is real and is the most critical problem facing our society.

“Among the steps needed to defend ourselves is quick action to fortify emergency response capabilities worldwide, to shield or relocate vulnerable coastal communities and to prepare for increased migration flows by environmental refugees.Mark Hertsgaard

“According to the grimmest forecasts, extreme global warming could give us a future where erratic and chaotic weather, rising sea levels, and melting snowpack usher in an epic of drought, crop failure, famine, flood and mass extinctions and the political instability that invariably accompanies dwindling resources. ” Atty Robert Kennedy,

“…climate change could unleash a series of interlocking catastrophes including mega-droughts, mass starvation and even nuclear war as countries like China and India battle over river valleys and other sources of scarce food and water.

In an article titled, “Global Warming Could Slam Food Supply,” “But computer model projections shown to ABC News by eminent climatologist Steve Schneider at Stanford University, and other calculations from California state water boards, now warn that because of global warming the mountain snowpack so essential to all the food is most likely to be not only melting out too fast in the spring, but diminishing drastically — by as much as 90 percent, according to some computer models — before the end of the century, well within the lifetime of today’s kids. [emphasis mine. correction made based on discussion below]

We should not be surprised at the secular interpretation of climate and its changes. However, what is surprising is that Christians are being duped and duping others on this issue. See Christianity Today’s synopsis of articles which show that many in the evangelical community are promoting this hoax.

This is not new. Many leading Christians get caught in the “Chicken Little” atmosphere. Remember the Y2K crisis? In 1999, many Christian leaders were creating an atmosphere of fear in our churches. Consider Gary North, a leading Presbyterian leader. In his article “Blind Mans Bluff” which this appeared on his site, Gary said the following:

“We are heading for a disaster greater than anything the world has experienced since the bubonic plague of the mid-14th century.”1

Consider the number of doomsday prophecies of the past decades. Every one of them have been proven false by time…

  • 1970s: Global Cooling. Those who advocated for global cooling made wild predictions that within 30 years, we would all be suffering from starvation because of the lack of crops. Now, thirty-years later, we have Global Warming. Also, there is not starvation. The government is sponsoring bills to help curb obesity.
  • 1970s: Energy Crisis under President Jimmy Carter. It was predicted that we would run out of fossil fuels. This spiked an unnecessary fuel crisis.
  • 1970s: Population Bomb: It was believed that the world’s population world was increasing at such a radical pace that there will not be enough room, food and resources. China adopted the inhumane measures of limiting their society to one child per family. This has so ravaged their nation that now in 2008, they are now reconsidering their practices.
  • 1999: Y2K computer glitch would affect banks, traffic signals, create food shortages and be a catastrophe. Not one incident was recorded.

As believers, what are we to think of doomsday prophecies like global warming and how are we to react to them?
What are We to Think of Doomsday Prophecies, especially Global Warming?

We are to Reject People Who Make Non-Biblical Doomsday Prophecies.

There is an underlying need in sinful human nature to be able to predict the future. It used to be that false prophets were dealt with severely. Today, they win the Nobel Peace prize.

What is behind this need to “prophecy?” Why is it that people want to predict the future? It can be boiled down to one word—pride.

In Job 38:22-30, God challenges Job’s proud spirit by asking a series of rhetorical questions about the weather and climate. With these series of questions, God highlight’s Job’s inability to control the climate. Here are a sampling of the questions:

  • Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? (vv 22,23)
  • What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? (vs 24)
  • Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? (vv. 25-27)
  • Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? (vv. 28-30)

God made it clear to Job that it is arrogance to believe that man can control the climate. We can look back and see what the climate has done. We can make short term educated guesses to what the weather will do. However, to make predictions such as the Global Warming pundits make is just plain arrogance. They predict that the climate will change up to 11.5 degrees farenheit in the next 30 years. This never happened before and is 11 times greater than any fluctuation in the past 2,000 years. With all of the satellite pictures and meterology equipment at our disposal, weathermen cannot predict with any real accuracy what will happen more than two weeks into the future.

Why do people make claims that the temperature will rise as it never has before? Why are they acting as if they have special knowledge? It is human nature to play God. Only God possesses the knowledge of our future climate.

We are to Reject People Who Ignore Clear Biblical Statements That There Will Be No Doomsday Such as Global Warming.

Let’s contrast what the Global Warming pundits are saying with what the Bible clearly states:

The Global Warming advocates predict the following:

The world’s overall temperatures will increase to as much as 11.5 degrees causing the glaciers to melt, raising sea levels and covering most of our coastal metropolitan cities.

What the Bible says:

Genesis 8:22: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

The Global Warming advocates say:

“We are risking the ability of the human race to survive” Climate Change panel chairman

What the Bible says:

Genesis 9:11: “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

We are to Give Careful Thought Before We Believe in Global Warming

A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. (Pr 14:15)

This proverb describes a “simple” person. “Simple” comes from the Hebrew word which means “open-minded,” “easily persuaded.”

These people believe “anything.” Literally, this is “every word.” They do not discern, but believe every word anybody speaks.

On the contrary, we are to be prudent, sensible people. How does this apply to the Global Warming issue? Here are a few practical suggestions…

  • Prudent people discern what the Global Warming people are saying. Did you notice that the “Global Warming” phrase is now being redefined as “Climate Change?” That is significant. Those who are teaching that there is a warming trend want to be able to cover themselves in case there is a cooling trend by using the phrase “climate change.” This is what propogandists do. They subtly change definitions and terms.
  • Prudent people believe the Bible before they believe the scientific community. The above passages show that we will always have “cold and heat.” We will have cycles of weather.
  • Prudent people do not get excited about the claims that there is going to be a Global Warming catastrophe. They are able to see that politics and money are the driving forces of this issue.
  • Prudent people realize that the Global Warming advocates are repeating the same dogma the Global Cooling and Population Bomb people produced in the 70s.2 However, Global Warming advocates are not willing to make the same mistake their precedessors made in the 70s. It was said that Global Cooling would bring catastrophes within 10 to 30 years. Now that at least 30 years has gone by and there were no catastrophes. Now, the Global Warming community project disasters out to 50 to 100 years. Why? Is it because they will not be here to explain why the catastrophes did not happen?
  • Prudent people will consider the good education coming from Heartland Institute and their Manhattan Declaration.

How Are We to React to Doomsday Prophecies, especially Global Warming?

Perilous times provide Christians an opportunity to express their faith in God.

Assume for a moment that Global Warming were true (as the advocates suggest), what should our response be? Consider Joseph (Genesis 50:19–21) who faced many real crises throughout his life. He was a humble young man who focused on God’s sovereignty. In the midst of real crisis, he told his brothers…

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

God used the evil actions of the brothers to save their own lives and the lives of many others. Joseph looked back on his life and realized that God’s plan incorporates both evil and good.

When calamities come, we can be confident that they are no surprise to God. God, in his wisdom and strength, planned and uses these things to accomplish his purposes. Therefore, when Christians are faced with turmoil, they can be confident that “all things will work together for good!” (Romans 8:28)

As believers, we are not to spread fear over the Global Warming issue. Instead, we should use this as an occasion to share our faith. People around us need stability. They need hope. They need to be saved. Take this global warming issue as an opportunity to spread the Gospel.

Worry is sin.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?… 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Mt 6:25, 34)

The phrase “do not worry” comes from one Greek word which has a stronger meaning “do not be anxious.” There are plenty of things to be “anxious” over. We have real threats—terrorism, peer pressure, materialism, apathy, etc. From this passage we can draw at least two conclusions…

  1. Anxiety is a lack of trust in God to take care of us. Since He has, and continues to take care of our basic necessities, He will take care of our greater needs.
  2. Anxiety tends to focus on things that are not true (vs 34 cf. Php 4:8). We cannot know the future with any degree of certainty. Only God knows the future. For believers, who can only know the past and the present, we are to focus on godly living in the present. Does that mean that we do not concern ourselves with the future? No. We simply are not to grow anxious over the future that we miss opportunities for godly living here and now.


Global Warming is truly more than a hoax. It is fast becoming a pernicious problem for Christians. It is a battle between faith in science or the Bible. Like many doomsday prophecies, there are underlying motivations. We have identified two—politics and money.

The Global Warming issue provides us an opportunity to exercise our faith. As you meet those who advocate these kinds of doomsday prophecies, take careful, prudent thought. Use it as an occasion to spread the Gospel.3

1 Since his website is no longer in existence, we do have 🙂 See the following quote in context here.

2See this insightful article which compares the statements of Paul Ehrlich and Al Gore.

3An article on ways to use Global Warming for spreading the Gospel will be available soon.