Obedience, Healing, and the Great Commission of Jesus

It has been almost a year since we first heard the name COVID-19. Since those early reports about this virus surfaced in mainstream media, life as we have known it has been permanently changed. The virus has been used as an excuse for rapidly moving forward with the plan to establish a New World Order. It is easy to get caught up in the battle between those who are trying to reform the world and those who are trying to maintain the freedoms that we once enjoyed. This Bible study is designed to help you remove yourself from the battle of these worldly concerns and to put your attention on higher priorities – the concerns of God.

We have experienced the dawn of face masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, lockdowns, business closures, school closures, and the disappearance of most all opportunities for pleasurable human interaction in public settings. The future promises greater lockdowns, more isolation, more fear, and rapid movement toward a consolidated system of one world governance. As the Great Reset is implemented, we can expect to see the implementation of a single digital currency, multiple mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, total surveillance of all human activity, and the attempt to completely control or eliminate Christian religious activities.

What I am describing has nothing to do with the political party that occupies the White House or controls the Congress. The changes that are being implemented are being advanced by a small group of wealthy elite technocrats. In actuality, both political parties are participants at some level in the plan to bring about the New World Order.

The leaders of the New World Order have no room in their program of total control for disciples of Jesus who will not bend the knee or bend the neck to their authority. Those who insist on declaring that “Jesus is Lord” and who refuse to bow down to the demands of the wealthy elite who are pushing forward the agenda of total worldwide transformation, will be attacked with hate speech, marginalized, isolated, and eventually martyred. Of course, this process will take place over a period of years as our rights to practice our religion are slowly stripped away.

There will soon be a state church system, probably operating under the authority of the US government and perhaps headed up by the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, which will seek to enslave its participants and to encourage them to obey the leaders of the New World Order. You can tell which church organizations will probably sign up to be state approved churches by looking for those which have done exactly what government has told them to do without objection during the last year of restrictions. Those organizations which caved-in, rolled over, and played dead will likely be the first to become state-controlled religious organizations.

The Bright Side of a Grim Future Reality

During these days of uncertainty and intentional destruction, we, as born-again believers in Jesus, will need to examine our commitment to Jesus and to His Gospel. We will have to decide whether we will be completely obedient to the commands of Jesus or will transfer our allegiance to the men who are instigating the creation of the New World Order so we can retain a limited set of personal freedoms and social privileges.

Disciples of Jesus who will not submit to godless totalitarian authorities and who insist on sharing the Gospel and living by every commandment of Jesus listed in the New Testament will be targeted for close monitoring as is done in Communist China. We will face severe persecution, imprisonment, coercive re-education, and when all else fails, death by the guillotine.

The COVID Test and the COVID Vaccine

Evidence assembled by multiple sources in the alternative media clearly show that the COVID-19 PCR test is extremely flawed. Approximately 80% of test results are false positives, which means that 80% of people are erroneously called COVID cases when they do not have a COVID-19 illness. They are also not silent carriers or spreaders of the disease. We also know, based on US CDC data, that 94% of those who were said to have died from COVID-19 actually died from other serious chronic illnesses, and only 6% actually died from COVID-19. We also know that the total number of deaths in 2020 was not abnormally high. Thus, there was no pandemic! All the lockdowns, mask wearing, and social distancing was completely unnecessary. This also means that the COVID-19 vaccine is completely unnecessary.

Most all of the COVID-19 vaccines that are under development by six pharmaceutical companies will use RNA technology to permanently modify human DNA to produce an immune system reaction. These DNA modifications will be passed on to successive generations.

The greatest concern with these vaccines is that they have not been tested on animals or properly tested on humans. Research shows that when animal studies were done with RNA vaccines in past decades, all the animals later died when they were exposed to the virus that they were vaccinated against. The technical term for the immune backfiring that the animals experienced is known as “Antibody Dependent Enhancement,” or “paradoxical immune reaction.” This means that the antibodies that were produced in reaction to the RNA vaccine will enhance the uptake of the virus when animals or people are exposed to the virus in their environment. In this situation, the antibodies that were produced by the vaccine do not neutralize the virus as they should, and actually enable the viruses to enter into the cells of our bodies where they may cause life-threatening illness and death. Physicians and PhD researchers warn that it is possible that 50 million Americans could be permanently disabled or killed by these experimental RNA vaccines.

I don’t deny that some people may have experienced symptoms of sickness that have been linked to what is called COVID-19 illness, but the evidence is very weak that their sicknesses and deaths were caused by a new virus. My soon to be published book on COVID-19 goes into considerable detail on this topic.

Each of us will need to decide whether we will take the COVID-19 vaccine or should refuse it if this is an option. I will not tell anyone what decision they should make for themselves or their children. We have already seen cases where children have been removed from their homes by government workers because their parents did not cooperate with COVID-19 lockdown rules and COVID testing requirements. I pray that God will lead you through this decision-making process.

The Major Question for Disciples of Jesus Living in the Age of COVID

How should we respond to the COVID-19 rules and mandates when it comes to obeying the Commandments of Jesus as written in the Bible? The fear and terror that the US population is experiencing from the so-called COVID pandemic is creating an incredible opportunity for disciples of Jesus to reach out to the lost with open hands of help. In one hand we hold the keys to the kingdom in the form of the Gospel message. In the other hand we hold the keys for healing the lost from their fear, their physical illnesses, and their emotional dysfunctions. As will be explained in this Bible study, we are called to exercise our obedience to Jesus by sharing the gospel and praying for healing regardless of the rules being put forth by government. This is not the time to take a vacation from obeying the commandments of Jesus. Rather, it is the time to participate in the harvest of souls who are languishing in their sins and their sicknesses.

God does not Change

Hebrews 13

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

God’s unchangeable nature and His unchangeable expectations regarding his relationship with His children does not change with the political events of our world. Living in the age of COVID may present us with new challenges, but it does not modify our relationship to God.

Revelation 22

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

This warning was written for those who might consider modifying the Book of Revelation. However, there is no reason to believe that it does not apply to the rest of the Bible. Thus, I assume that any commandment that Jesus gave us in the gospel books must be obeyed. If we say “Oh, that doesn’t apply to us today because…” then I believe we are changing the nature of the scriptures, putting ourselves above Jesus, and putting ourselves into great peril. In the same way if we hang extra-biblical concepts on scripture in order to mitigate or modify the plain meaning of scripture, we are also putting ourselves in danger.

Matthew 28

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The preceding Great Commission has not changed in the past two thousand years. Every word still stands as our guide. The word “observe” means to obey or to do the indicated activities. We are told exactly what we are to do, and the promise of Jesus to be with us always remains as a powerful commitment to the work we undertake for building His kingdom. Every single word in the preceding passage is to be obeyed as written. This also holds true for the next passage even if we may not like some of the words.

Matthew 10

7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

The basic commands in the preceding passage are the same as those in the Great Commission – preach the gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.

Mark 16

14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Again, the preceding passage reflects the message in the Great Commission and adds more details. Healing and deliverance are signs of God’s Power.

The three preceding passages make a strong connection between preaching the gospel, healing the sick, delivering people from evil spirits, baptizing new believers, and trusting that Jesus will be with us when we do this work. We are called to do all of this and to do it in a balanced way – not neglecting any portion of it and not over emphasizing certain parts. We don’t do this work in our own strength but must depend upon the presence of Jesus and the power given to us by His Holy Spirit.

In practical terms, we as individuals and as participants in church organizations, tend to gravitate toward imbalanced implementation of these passages. We tend to follow the leadership of our denominations. We do what the denomination believes and justify our imbalance with denominational doctrines.

Doctrines help us know what we believe, however, all denominations tend to swerve from biblical truth on various points and either ignore certain passages in the Bible or over emphasize others to the point where the meaning of scriptures become twisted.

I believe we are responsible to examine every denominational doctrine that we have been following and to reformulate or reject those that do not line-up with scripture. Sometimes this process makes it impossible to continue in close fellowship with denominations that deviate far from God’s word. We must all be Bereans. We must all take off our denominational glasses and find the true meaning in scripture even if denominational beliefs must be jettisoned.

Some denominations emphasize doctrine while paying little attention to preaching the gospel or to healing the sick and casting out demons. Others play loose with doctrines and emphasize healing and deliverance. Others preach the gospel, sometimes even on the streets, but pay little attention to deep repentance and to the need for deliverance from spiritual depravity caused by demonic infestation. Still, others emphasize Bible memorization and Bible study, but pay little attention to being filled with the Holy Spirit so that they can apply the Bible and become obedient disciples of Jesus. Sometimes we just do what we personally enjoy and disregard biblical obedience – we seek out church organizations that reflect our personal preferences.

But Jesus is asking us to do all that He commanded us to do. We are to preach the gospel, baptize new believers, disciple them to become mature Christ followers, heal the sick, cast out demons, and to do all of this under the leadership of the Lord Jesus and through the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit that He has given to us.

For most people, the greatest objection to what I am saying is linked to the healing of the sick, the deliverance of the spiritually oppressed, and even to the raising of the dead. It is common for people to say, “I have never seen any of that in my church, therefore it must be something that was true in the past but is no longer true.” A number of denominations embrace the non-biblical doctrine of cessationism, which says that only the apostles who had seen Jesus were able to do the miraculous deeds that we read about in the Book of Acts. They say, “those gifts disappeared in the first century when the apostles died, and we cannot expect to see such things today.” If that is true, then why did Jesus command us to heal the sick, cast out demons, and even raise the dead? Was Jesus wrong? Didn’t he know that healing and deliverance would die out and soon become impossible?

My answer is simple. Jesus made no misstatements in issuing His commands to us because He could always see clearly into the future. The three sets of passages I have quoted, express a current-day reality that we are to embrace and follow. Jesus meant what he said and meant it for all future times.

Some will say, “how can we do that – we lack the power to do what Jesus did.” It is true that we cannot do these things in our own power – we need the supernatural power of God’s Holy Spirit to do this work. The truth is that in “primitive” situations of church life where the church is either persecuted or the people live in deep poverty, the Holy Spirit moves with power every day. We see this in Africa especially where people expect that God will show up and do miracles – they do not doubt the power of God because they see the evidence of His work over and over again.

For us in the west, we have a significant challenge – a disadvantage that is rooted in excess wealth and overly complicated doctrine. I am not against doctrine, for we need to know what we should believe, but theologians have turned a simple religion into a complex undertaking that requires their constant attention to explain and interpret the scriptures for us. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be our teacher, and I believe that we would all be better off if we could depend on the text of the Bible and the teaching power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need theologians, commentaries, and philosophical books of human wisdom – we only need the Bible and God’s spirit moving through our lives every day.

Matthew 4

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

If it is true that “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” then why should we expect that we cannot do what He did, when He explicitly told us that we should do all that He commanded us to do? Why should our ministry look different from what Jesus did in the preceding passage?

The Power to Heal and Deliver

Mark 5

1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.

17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

This passage shows us that we should not allow ourselves to shrink back from difficult situations. Miracles still happen today. Healing and deliverance are common during times of revival but are also common among those who are living in obedience to God’s commandments.

Mark 5

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Healing is also influenced by the faith of those who seek to follow Jesus. Jesus healed people then and He heals us today. He reveals is presence through healing.

Mark 9

17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.

27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Jesus expressed an important principle, which is preparation. We should not mis-interpret the words of Jesus to imply that we must earn the power of the Holy Spirit through deeds of prayer and fasting. I believe He is simply describing the need to be spiritually fit and living in close relationship with God. When we abide in God, He will abide in us and amazing things will happen. Spiritual fitness speaks to the heart of our obedience to the commandments of Jesus.

James 5

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

This passage provides us with a series of commands and promises that are given to those who are afflicted or sick, or who have faults. I think of our faults as the sinful and habitual patterns of disobedience, which are preventing us from growing deeper in Christ. In each case presented in this passage, we are instructed to do something, and then God promises to do something in response.

I think it is important to note that the sickness of someone in the body of Christ is a community concern. Those who are sick are not expected to suffer in private but are encouraged to call upon mature believers to anoint them and pray for their healing.

When sin is involved, then confession before trustworthy believers is indicated. Unrepented sin can be involved in illness. Disobedience, unbelief, resentment, and anger at God can stand in the way of our healing.

As Jesus stated in previous passages, demonic activity can also be involved in our illnesses and our afflictions. Demons were present when Jesus walked on the Earth, and they remain with us today – their activities have not changed. Jesus showed us how we can use our authority as His disciples to cast out the servants of Satan who create illness and destroy people’s lives.

Obey the Gospel

Romans 10

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

1 Peter 4

16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

2 Thessalonians 1

7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

We Show Our Love for Jesus by Obeying His Commandments

Love is one of those concepts that we often talk about, but find it hard to accurately define. Love is expressed through our deeds. We show our love for Jesus by obeying His commandments. We can say, “we love you Jesus, and we worship you Jesus” but do these words demonstrate our love? Deeds of obedience to the commandments of Jesus are a clear expression of our love.

John 14

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

The preceding passage is a powerful promise to every disciple of Jesus. We will not be left alone. If we feel alone, then the problem is on our side and not on the side of Jesus. This is a call to obedience. When we live in obedience according to these words, we will not feel alone. Disciples of Jesus who feel alone can address this problem by becoming more obedient to the commandments of God which means becoming into greater alignment with God’s will. We learn to abide in Jesus through obedience.

John 15

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

True joy comes from abiding in Jesus. This is a simple fact with a simple directive – “love one another, as I have loved you.” This is a commandment that should be a ruling principle in the body of Christ. One of the ways we demonstrate our love is by praying for one another and standing beside those who suffer with illness and persecution.

Love One Another

1 John 5

1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

2 John 1

5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

Baptism and the Holy Spirit

Acts 2

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Acts 19

1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

7 And all the men were about twelve.

Colossians 2

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

There are a wide range of teachings in church denominations on the biblical call to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Similarly, there are a wide range of teachings about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We must carefully examine denominational teachings on these topics and carefully compare them with the actual words in the Bible that address these points.

The preceding passages clearly connect Baptism with repentance for sins and literally connect us to the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

These passages also show the importance for disciples of Jesus to have the active participation of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

The presence of the Holy Spirit can be determined by looking for evidence of his activity. Consider these questions: Is the Holy Spirit helping me with my daily sanctification? Is the Holy Spirit helping me understand the Bible as I read the text? Is the Holy Spirit helping me produce the fruit of the Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin and helping me repent? Is the Holy Spirit providing me with comfort in times of stress? Is the Holy Spirit encouraging me to disconnect from non-biblical denominational teachings/doctrines and to rely on the words of scripture and on His teaching? Is the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit encouraging me to obey the commandments of Jesus and bring glory to our Lord? If not, then you may need to pay closer attention to being obedient to the commandments of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit does not force us to be obedient, rather, obedience is a voluntary expression of our love for Jesus. When we choose to obey the commandments of Jesus, we draw closer to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Knowing Jesus

1 John 2

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Every believer wants to abide in Jesus, but are we willing to walk in His footsteps? Do we want to walk on His path of suffering? Do we want to carry the instrument of our execution on our backs? Are we willing to face death because of our faith in Jesus? Are we willing to follow every command that Jesus gave us in scripture in order to abide in Jesus?

1 John 4

1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

The members of the family of Jesus are commanded to love one another. Again, the word “love” requires action. It is much more than a warm and fuzzy feeling of affection that we are to have toward those who say they are also believers in Jesus. Love is about the actions that we take with respect to building relationships with other believers. Love is about being willing to build interdependent relationships in order to facilitate our fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Hebrews 10

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

As I come to the end of this Bible study, I hope that you understand that I intended it “to provoke unto love and to good works.” I intended it to exhort and encourage us all to strive for the more complete fulfillment of our faith in Jesus and to bring that faith out into the world – for the time is growing very short.

2 Timothy 4

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

The doctrine that Paul is describing is the teaching that Jesus gave to Him and which he taught to Timothy. It is not the doctrine of denominations or the doctrines of theologians. It is the commandments of Jesus that were given to us to follow as His disciples.

My Final Prayer

Father,

Teach me through the words of the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit to obey the commandments of Jesus.

Help me believe the promises of Jesus and to trust every commandment Jesus spoke to us in the Bible.

I know that on many points of scripture, my obedience is partial and weak, but my heart longs for me to be a good and faithful servant.

Lord Help my unbelief. Help my fear. Help my disobedience. In other words, I repent for my sin of doubting your promises, my sin of fearing man, and for my sin of disobedience to your commandments.

Help me build fellowship with other disciples of Jesus so that we can bear one another’s burdens and exhort one another to become obedient to your will for us.

I trust that you will always be with me and with my fellow believers, and I pray that our lives will bring you glory!

Amen.

(This document may be freely copied and distributed. All scriptures are from the King James Version of the Bible.)

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