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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Explore new horizons of a living faith

These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one.  The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.

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Introduction

How can you believe? ...  I admire your faith, I have such a hard time believing anything like God. ...  I only believe in what I can see, feel or touch. …


Such are some of the responses to the word ‘faith’. One is given the impression that to have faith is to try and believe something you know is false, like believing in the tooth fairy. In fact faith is about believing what you have become convinced of. So, how do you become convinced?


Bible Zone


Why Faith?

Why is faith so important?  Why can’t someone just live a good life?

  1. What is it about faith that is significant to God?
  2. Would you care if someone wanted something from you, but didn’t trust you?


Hebrews 11:  6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.


Faith beyond facts

Many believe that the earth goes round the sun.  Very few people need to live by this. Faith is believing so it changes your life. Jumping off a tower on a zip wire needs faith that the harness will hold you safe.

  1. Why is belief as demons believe of no use?
  2. What do you believe in that you live by?


James 2:  19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.* Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.20 How foolish! Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless?


What Must I believe?

  1. What does faith do in a persons’ life?
  2. What does God do through faith?
  3. What is the good news that must be believed?


Romans 1:  16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.*17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."*


What is the evidence?

Faith is based on evidence. To take the zip wire example. I would be a fool to entrust myself to a system made of paper. The more important it is the more thoroughly I look at the evidence.


Accounts of Jesus.

There are four accounts of the life of Jesus, called the gospels. Here are some texts explaining why they were written.

  1. What do the authors of these two gospels claim about what they wrote?
  2. What did they know about the subject matter?


John 21:  24 This disciple [John the author]  is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate.   25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.


Luke 1: 1 Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us.2 They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples.*3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus,4 so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.


The life and words of Jesus

The life of Jesus stands out as a remarkable life. The fact that John and Matthew were two of His closest followers is remarkable. The closest followers see a person’s faults, but they have none to report.

  1. How clear did Jesus believe He had been in declaring Himself as the Messiah - God’s anointed one, or the Christ?
  2. If a friend of yours made these statements, what would you think of them?
  3. What were the people demanding as proof?
  4. What was Jesus’ proof?
  5. As you read the gospel accounts what sort of man do you find?


John 10:  24 The people surrounded him and asked, "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."   25 Jesus replied, "I have already told you, and you don't believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father's name.


John 14:  6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.* From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"

  8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

  9 Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.


Jesus’ Trial

Jesus was executed for calling himself the Son of God.

  1. Why did the Jewish leaders want Jesus killed?
  2. Why was calling Himself the Son of God serious enough that he should die?


John 19:   7 The Jewish leaders replied, "By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God."


Jesus Raised from the dead

Dead people are not brought back to life beyond a few minutes. Jesus was dead approximately 36 hours.

  1. For what period of time did Jesus appear after His death?
  2. Why should He be concerned to prove that He was actually alive?


Acts 1:  3 During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.


   A more thorough examination - Evidence for Christianity


What stops faith

The evidence can be presented, but there are some who will not believe no matter what they see or hear.


Unwilling to go with God

Those who are not willing to do what God asks will never allow themselves to be convinced.

  1. What is Jesus’ evaluation of the lives of His critics?
  2. What does Jesus say of His message and life?
  3. What advice does He give about finding out whether His words are from God?
  4. Is it possible for you to be convinced that Jesus is real?


John 7:  16 So Jesus told them, "My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me."


Follow the crowd

Those who look for approval from people will never be able to follow God because at some point the crowd will disapprove of what God wants.

  1. How did Jesus describe the motivation of those who were against Him?
  2. What are the motivations that you would live for?


John 5:  44 No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.*


Need to See

Those who wait till they have some supernatural experience will never have one good enough. Even if it were to see someone raised from the dead.

  1. What did Jesus do?
  2. What responses were there to this miracle?
  3. How convinced were Jesus’ enemies?
  4. What would it take to convince you?


John 11 43 Then Jesus shouted, "Lazarus, come out!"44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him go!"

 45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council* together. "What are we going to do?" they asked each other. "This man certainly performs many miraculous signs.48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple* and our nation."   49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time,* said, "You don't know what you're talking about!50 You don't realize that it's better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed."

BELIEVING

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Faith for LIfe.