TEXT: John 3:3,16; 17:15-17; Acts 1:5-8
The students will be able to list the three basic experiences in the proper order and explain the importance of each.
Revealed truth discloses that “the foundation of God,” or the essence of His character, stands firm, steadfastly immovable. This divine foundation has a twin seal guaranteeing it: (1) the Lord knows His own (Numbers 16:5; John 10:14); and (2) the Lord’s own are to be separated from iniquity. Holy living is to be the external evidence of one’s personal relationship with God. These two principles run through all Scripture.
In reference to the key verse, the writer Paul, indicates that every Christian has a warfare to maintain against numerous, powerful, and subtle spiritual foes. He concludes that they would need much strength, courage, and the complete armor and the skill to use it in order to successfully combat these foes. The complete suit of armor which is mentioned here refers to the armor of the “heavy troops” among the Greeks; those who were to sustain the rudest attacks, who were to sap the foundations of walls, storm cities, etc. Their ordinary armor was the shield, the helmet, the sword, and the brazen boots.
The Word of God plainly teaches that God has three initial experiences for the Christian, as a foundation to prepare him for his walk of faith here on earth. The first two, salvation and sanctification, are provided through the shed Blood of Jesus on Calvary (Hebrews 9:22,28; 13:12). The third, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, is a gift of God (Acts 2:38; 10:45), given to provide power for us so that we can fully serve the Lord.
- What proof have we from Scripture that the three basic experiences God has for a Christian—salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost—are to be sought and received in this sequence? See John 3:3; 17:17, and Acts 1:5.
Response: Salvation: “To be born,” indicates an entry into life. Until one is born again of God’s Spirit (John 3:5), he has no spiritual life and cannot see or enter into the Kingdom of God.
Sanctification: Jesus verifies several times (John 17:6,8,12,16) that His disciples were already born again, and were not of this world. Yet He prays to His Father to sanctify them (verses 17 and 19), and make them one as He and the Father are one.
Baptism of the Holy Ghost: Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry until they were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:4,5,8). One hundred and twenty of them did so. That they were already sanctified is evident, as they continued in one accord in prayer in one place (Acts 1:14; 2:1), in accordance with Jesus’ prayer for them (John 17:11,21,23).
- There are several words in use today which indicate the experience one receives when he becomes a Christian. Find Scriptures that use these expressions:
Response: Born again
Saved — Luke 7:50; 8:12; Acts 16:30-31 Ephesians 2:8
Converted — Psalm 51:13; Matthew 18:3; Acts 3:19
You may wish to discuss the phrase “accepting Christ.” If a person truly accepts Christ, he will repent of his sins and believe on the Lord Jesus as his Savior. But so often the phrase denotes a mere mental acceptance rather than a real turning away from sin and a subsequent wholehearted following of the teachings of Christ. Salvation occurs when the sinner receives the witness that God has accepted his offering of a broken and a contrite heart.
- What actions stated by Jesus in Mark 1:15 are necessary on our part in order for us to be born again, or saved from sin? Explain what these actions involve.
Response: Allow time for your students to offer their definitions of the words repent and believe. It should be brought out that repentance indicates a godly sorrow and remorse because of one’s sins, in addition to a complete turning away from them, pleading for God’s mercy and asking His forgiveness. Believing unto salvation goes far deeper than a head belief in Jesus. It is a heartfelt confession that Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9.10). It is a confidence that God has answered our prayer, and is accompanied by a witness from the Holy Spirit that our sins are forgiven, and we are now children of God (Romans 8:16).
- What outward change takes place in one’s life when he or she becomes a Christian? See 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Ephesians 4:22-32.
Response: Impress on the students the fact that as a new creature in Christ, the sinful things one did before conversion are now gone. The lying, stealing, evil speaking, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, etc., go out of one’s life when Jesus comes in. This might be a good time to ask if any of your students would like to offer an example of how God took such things from their lives when they were converted.
- When someone comes to God to be saved, he must repent and turn from his sins. In contrast, how do we come to God when seeking to be sanctified? See Romans 12:1,2 and 6:13.
Response: We must yield or consecrate our entire lives to the Lord for His service. We must separate and set ourselves apart, which is our role in sanctification. See Leviticus 11:44 and 2 Timothy 2:21. Jesus gave us the example in John 17:19. When we do this fully and believe, God sanctifies us. Ask your class to list some of the things Christ did so that we might be sanctified; for example, He prayed for us (John 17:20-21), He suffered outside the city gate (Hebrews 13:12), He offered His body (Hebrews 10:10), and shed His Blood (Hebrews 10:19).
- What effect does the experience of sanctification have in the life of a Christian? See Romans 6:6 and Hebrews 2:11.
Response: The root of sin (or principle of sin) is destroyed. We have perfect oneness with God and spiritual oneness with other sanctified Christians. You may wish to broaden your discussion by bringing out that we are cleansed and made holy in the eyes of the Lord, and live clean, pure, peaceable, holy lives in this world. See Ephesians 4:24; 5:26-27; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 12:14.
- What do Jesus’ admonitions to His disciples in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4,8 teach us of the importance of seeking the baptism of the Holy Ghost?
Response: He refers to the baptism of the Holy Ghost as “the promise of the Father,” which shows this experience is all-important. He then follows by telling them to tarry in Jerusalem until they have received the promised power, and not to go out witnessing and evangelizing until they have received this enduement. Ask your class why the Holy Ghost was given. Class discussion should bring out that the gift of the Holy Ghost was given as an enabler for the disciples to be successful witnesses of the Gospel, and should be sought for the same reason today. Explain to the students that when seeking this experience they should be asking from the Holy Ghost the power for service that the experience brings.
- Can we expect to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost today in the same manner and with the same witness as the Early Church, or was the gift just for those in that day? Explain. See Acts 2:38-39.
Response: Yes, we can expect to receive the baptism as the Early Church did. When one consecrates wholly and believes, that one will receive the baptism, and the witness of tongues will supernaturally follow. This might be a good time to share with the students your experience of receiving the baptism. Bring out that God is definitely still giving the same experience in the same way as He did in Bible times. Close your class session by rehearsing the importance of receiving these three basic experiences in order to be ready for the Master’s use, and to establish a firm foundation upon which to build their spiritual house.
Bring several items to class to show how things need to be done in the correct way in order to be of use.
1. A balloon: Tie a knot in the end and then try to blow it up. It won’t work. The knot has closed the hole.
2. Wall plate and an electrical appliance: Tape the plate to the wall and try to plug in the appliance. It won’t work. The outlet is missing.
3. A piece of stationery and an empty ink pen or unsharpened pencil: Try to write a message to someone. It won’t work. You need ink or lead.
In each of these ideas something is missing or in the wrong order. If we are to be ready for the Master’s use we must do all things in order. Never say that what Jesus has for us to do is unimportant.
Take a construction plan to class. If possible, it should be one with separate pages for plumbing, framing, etc.
Explain that this plan is for one building, but there are many parts to the plan. Each one is necessary in order for the building to be complete. Just so, God has different experiences for us which are necessary in order to make our spiritual building complete.
Use samples of dirty clay, clean clay, and a vessel made from clay, to illustrate the ANSWER story as you go through it step by step.
Bring some greenware to class and discuss what the firing does for it.
Use a set of Lego or similar building blocks, including a flat base. On the back of the base tape the words, “Salvation,” “Sanctification,” and “Baptism of the Holy Ghost.” Begin to build a structure on the base explaining that God gives us many blessings which add to our Christian experience and spiritual growth. But these three experiences give our Christian lives a solid foundation.
Tract No. 30 — The New Birth
Tract No. 125 — Sanctification
Tract No. 14 — The Baptism of the Holy Ghost