How to Know God http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god Thu, 23 Jun 2016 07:05:59 -0700 en-gb Go Deeper: Read and Pray http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/connect-with-god http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/connect-with-god

Are you interested in a more personal relationship with your creator? If the answer is yes, then consider the following…

1. Who is God?

God is your Creator, concerned about every aspect of your life:

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I [God] will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 49:15, 16, ESV)

2. Who is Yeshua?

Our sins have separated us from God.

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)

3. Yeshua is God's provision for forgiveness of our sin.

We need to trust in God's provision of Yeshua, the one who died to pay the penalty for your sin:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, NIV).

The Scriptures say,

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12, NIV)
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31, NIV [adapted])
"All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10:43, NIV)

4. You can receive forgiveness for your sins and a new life with God by trusting in Yeshua. You can do this by praying (out loud or silently) this prayer and believing what you say:

“Dear God, I confess that I have sinned against you many times and I want to turn from my sins by trusting in Yeshua as my atonement and sin-bearer. I believe you provided Jesus as the full payment for my sin. Today I give my life to you. I surrender my life to become your follower and receive you into my life as my Lord and savior. Thank you God for cleansing me of sin and for sealing my name in your book of life forever. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. Help me to trust you and follow you every day. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer or have questions, we would welcome hearing from you. Contact us here.

Section IV: Part 5 of 5
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How to Know God Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:38:51 -0800
1. God loves us and offers us an abundant life. http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-loves-us http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-loves-us

We come to know the people around us through their character and their behavior. The Bible likewise tells us about God’s character and actions. It makes a great deal of difference if God is a vague force, an impersonal energy, or a personal being who wants to relate to us. Here are some glimpses of God as the Bible portrays Him.

The Bible tells us that God is a God of love. We can see evidence of God’s love for us whenever we have food to eat, clothes to wear, or a roof over our heads. All are gifts from a loving God. The Bible tells about God’s love in many places, such as:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Psalm 103:8, NIV)

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)

So central is love that one Bible writer can even say,

So we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16, NIV)

And God offers us a full, abundant life:

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11, NIV)

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10, NIV, Yeshua speaking)

Though there is evidence around us of God’s love, most people are not personally experiencing His love or His abundant life. The reason is in the next point.

Section I: Part 5 of 7
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I. Who is God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:56:57 -0800
2. God is holy, while people are sinful and separated from God. http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-knows-everything http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-knows-everything

For many people, holy is not as welcoming a word as love. Perhaps the one time of year many Jewish people think of God as holy is on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the High Holy Days. On those occasions, we traditionally reflect on how God is morally perfect, while we recite a list of the many sins we have committed in the course of the year and ask for forgiveness. But we don’t need to wait for Yom Kippur to reflect on sin.

So what is sin? More than just individual acts, the Bible describes the nature of humanity as having a “heart defect.” There is a brokenness in human nature that is described by the Bible in this way:

The Lord looks down from heaven
            on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
            who seek after God.
They have all turned aside;
together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:2–3, ESV)

There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:20, NIV)

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

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV)

This theme is reiterated in the New Testament;

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, NIV)

These vivid descriptions point to how our spoiled nature harms our relationship with God, as well as with each other. There is a deep human need that God addresses. Even if we aren’t sure that God is there, or if He even cares about us, most of us know that we are not the loving, altruistic, servant-hearted person who can make the world a better place—even if we want to be that person! And it’s not just a matter of how we feel about ourselves, but the fact that we are broken and cannot live up to godliness in our own strength or effort—no matter how hard we try or how religious we might try to be.

The greatest gift given to humanity by God is the right to choose for or against Him. And He did that with absolute knowledge that we could use that freedom to choose not to trust or follow Him. But He warned that the natural consequence of exercising that freedom is separation from Him and spiritual death (Genesis 2:17), “you will surely die.” 

So God offers us an abundant life, yet our sin keeps us from knowing God and the life He offers. Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story!

Section I: Part 2 of 7
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I. Who is God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:56:25 -0800
3. God wants to forgive our sins http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-forgives-our-sins http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-forgives-our-sins

Scripture is full of examples of God’s mercy and forgiveness. All of us fail to live up to God’s moral standards, yet God forgives us again and again.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11–12, NIV).

Here we see God’s love again. It is because He loves us that He is gracious and wants to forgive us.

 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18, NIV)

Before we look at how God provides for our sins to be forgiven, let’s take a few more glimpses at who He is.

Section I: Part 3 of 7
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I. Who is God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:57:16 -0800
4. God is one http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-is-one http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-is-one

Some Jewish people object to Jesus because they think that his followers believe in three gods. Jewish people, of course, believe that God is one and affirm that belief in the synagogue prayer, the Shema, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4, NIV)

It’s important to know that the New Testament reaffirms this cardinal Jewish belief:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. (Mark 12:28–32, NIV)

Section I: Part 4 of 7
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I. Who is God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:55:21 -0800
5. God created everything on earth and in the heavens. http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-created-everything-on-earth-and-in-the-heavens http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-created-everything-on-earth-and-in-the-heavens

God created the universe, including you and me.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1, NIV)

Because He is our creator, He loves us as a parent loves the children they have brought into the world. Because He is our creator, our sins matter to Him as a child’s actions and character matter to their parents.

When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.” (Genesis 5:1–2, NIV)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11, NIV)

Section I: Part 5 of 7
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I. Who is God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:55:44 -0800
6. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-is-all-powerful http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/god-is-all-powerful

These are good things! Because God is all-powerful, we can know that one day He will set all the injustices in the world aright and will remove the destructiveness of sin. Because He is all-knowing, He knows our deepest struggles as well as the sins of our heart.

God’s power and knowledge cover the big picture of all of humanity, as well as the intimacy of each person in their own uniqueness.

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? (Isaiah 40:13–14, NIV)

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Romans 1:16, NIV)

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33, NIV)

With this understanding of who God is, we can now look at God’s provision for our sin—Yeshua, or Jesus.

Section I: Part 6 of 7
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I. Who is God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:56:04 -0800
Who is God? Interactive Study Guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/who-is-god-interactive-study-guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-god/who-is-god-interactive-study-guide
  1. According to Deuteronomy 6:4, what God most wants us to know about Him is:

    1. He is Israel's God Incorrect: while this is also true, "B" shows what God wants everyone to know about Him, and what He wanted the Jewish people to tell the nations.
    2. He is the only God Correct
  2. When Yeshua quoted Deuteronomy 6:4 (see Mark 12:29) he was showing the religious authorities that:

    1. He was not inventing a new religion, but his teaching was consistent with what God had revealed in the Jewish Scriptures. Correct
    2. He didn't know very many other commandments Incorrect: Mark 1:21–22 shows that Yeshua did know the Scriptures quite well
  3. The opening verse of the Torah, Genesis 1:1, shows that the first thing God chose to reveal to us is:

    1. He is the creator of the universe. Correct
    2. Heaven and earth were made on the same day. Incorrect: God revealed the order in which the world came into being throughout the whole chapter (Genesis 1:1-31), but the Torah begins by announcing that it’s by God’s desire and power that we (and the rest of the universe) exist.
  4. The point of Genesis 1:27 is that:

    1. Men came first in the order of creation Incorrect: Genesis 2:20–23 tells us that the first man was created before the first woman, but the emphasis in Genesis 1:27 is that both genders were created "in God's image."
    2. God created human beings to reflect who he is Correct
  5. Jeremiah 32:27 is a reminder that God:

    1. is all powerful and can reverse the course of human government Correct
    2. is not interested in earthly governments Incorrect: much of this prophetic book consists of God's warnings about what the nations will do to Israel, and promises of how God will ultimately rescue and restore Israel
  6. When, in Luke 1:37 an angel announced that "nothing is impossible with God" it was:

    1. a prediction that God would deliver Israel from Roman oppression Incorrect: though the preceding verses (Luke 1:31–33) do promise a new government, not just for Israel, but for the whole world.
    2. a promise that something that was literally unbelievable apart from God was going to happen to a young woman. Correct
  7. The point of Jeremiah 10:12 is that:

    1. You can show you are spiritual by setting aside your intelligence to believe God created the earth Incorrect: God does not want you to waste the intelligence he gave you; belief in God and using our intelligence should always go together.
    2. God is the source of all wisdom, understanding and power; the amazing order of the universe is evidence of this Correct
  8. When King David wrote Psalm 139:2, clearly he was feeling that:

    1. God was far away Incorrect: though the verse alludes to distance, or "from afar" God is unlimited in his ability to pay attention to and understand us, no matter where we are.
    2. Wherever David went, God knew every detail of his life, and understood all his thoughts Correct
  9. In Exodus 34:6 when God revealed Himself to Moses, he described himself as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness because he wanted Moses to know that:

    1. God does not judge people Incorrect: God’s righteousness requires him to pronounce judgment on evil, plus his care for us includes wanting something better for us when we err
    2. God's love compels him to offer everyone eternal life on his (God's) own terms, that is, through his son, Yeshua Correct
  10. John 3:16 is a promise that:

    1. God’s love compels him to give everyone eternal life Incorrect: God’s offer is for everyone, but the gift is for those who receive the offer
    2. God’s love compels him to offer everyone eternal life on his (God’s) own terms, that is, through his son, Yeshua Correct
  11. Daniel 9:9 teaches that when God forgives, it is because:

    1. our wrongs may seem big to us, but from his perspective they are small and petty Incorrect: Deuteronomy 9:7 shows that God takes rebellion against him—that is, exalting our own understanding or will above his—as cause for great wrath.
    2. it is his nature to be merciful and forgiving Correct
  12. When Jesus celebrated the seder with His followers and said the cup they were about to drink was, "my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28) he was telling them:

    1. They had been celebrating the exodus from Egypt for long enough, now it was time to mourn for the terrible thing that was about to happen to Jesus. Incorrect:Jesus wanted his disciples to understand his story from the context of Passover, a holiday which he very much wanted to celebrate with his closest friends. (see Luke 22:15)
    2. that what was about to happen to him had everything to do with the price of redemption, and that God had been revealing what that redemption would look like through Israel's exodus from Egypt, as well as through Israel's prophets Correct - See Jeremiah 31:31
Section I: Part 7 of 7
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I. Who is God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:02:33 -0800
1. Yeshua is God’s provision for our sins. http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-sacrificed-himself-as-a-substitute-for-the-sins-of-all-mankind http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-sacrificed-himself-as-a-substitute-for-the-sins-of-all-mankind

Our sin ultimately leads to spiritual death—separation from God.

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

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

In the days of ancient Israel, atonement for sin required the sacrifice of an animal. In effect, the animal took our sins on itself and went to death in place of us.

He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. (Leviticus 1:4, NIV)

Because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. (Leviticus 16:30, NIV, describing Yom Kippur)

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22, NIV)

Today, in the absence of a priesthood, a Temple, and sacrifices, Judaism teaches that atonement comes through repentance, prayer, deeds of charity and fasting. While each of those is important, so is a substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus claimed to be that sacrifice that atones for our sins:

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45, NIV)

For this reason Messiah is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15, NIV)

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20, NIV, Yeshua at his final Passover meal)

Anti-Semites over the centuries have claimed that “the Jews killed Jesus.” Yet Jesus voluntarily gave up his life as our sin-bearer:

“I lay down my life for the sheep. . . . No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:15, 18, NIV)

And it is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love:

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV)

And he is the only such provision for our sins today, whether we are Jewish or not:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV).

On the holiday of Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), one of Jesus’ earliest followers, Simon Peter, told a crowd of Jewish listeners in Jerusalem,

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV)

No one and nothing else can atone for our sins apart from Yeshua. Paul, another follower of Yeshua, who penned much of the New Testament, wrote:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. (Romans 6:23, NIV)

Section II: Part 1 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:59:14 -0800
2. Yeshua is the promised Jewish Messiah http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-is-the-long-awaited-jewish-messiah http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-is-the-long-awaited-jewish-messiah

How do we know that Yeshua is in fact our sin-bearer? One reason is that he fulfilled many prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, not least that the Messiah would in fact bear the sins of his people:

 

 

How do we know that Yeshua is in fact our sin-bearer? One reason is that he fulfilled many prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, not least that the Messiah would in fact bear the sins of his people:

Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4–6, NIV)

The New Testament records the fulfillment in passages like this one:

“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:22–25, NIV)

Other prophecies of the Messiah have found their fulfillment in Yeshua:

His birth:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14, NIV)

“She (Miriam or Mary, the mother of Yeshua) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21–23, NIV)

His birthplace:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2, NIV)

“When he (King Herod) had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:5–6, NIV)

On hearing his (Jesus’) words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” (John 7:40–42, NIV)

There are many other prophecies that show Jesus to be the promised Messiah. For more, see http://www.jewsforjesus.org/answers/prophecy. Indeed, the evidence all points to him as the Messiah who was to come. When Yeshua asked his disciples who they thought he was,

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:14–16, NIV)

When Yeshua lived and taught in the first century, there were other things about him that made many Jewish people conclude that he was the sin-bearing Messiah whose death would be an atonement. They didn’t arrive at that conclusion immediately, but only after coming to know him as the unique person he was.

Section II: Part 2 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:00:20 -0800
3. Yeshua taught with a unique authority. http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-was-the-greatest-teacher-of-all-time http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-was-the-greatest-teacher-of-all-time

While rabbis taught in the name of other rabbis, Yeshua uniquely taught on his own authority. “You have heard ... but I say to you,” he repeated in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5–7). That passage concludes with:

 

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:28–29, NIV)

It’s remarkable that today, about two billion people worldwide—most of whom are not Jewish—follow the teaching of this first-century rabbi. What Jesus said and did has shaped human culture as no other person has.

Section II: Part 3 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:58:41 -0800
4. Yeshua healed the sick and raised the dead http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-healed-the-sick-and-raised-the-dead http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-healed-the-sick-and-raised-the-dead

Not only his teaching, but his actions also showed people who he was, including his healings of those who were sick, and his raising of the dead.

Yeshua went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23, NIV)

When John heard in prison what Messiah was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:2–5, NIV)

Jesus’ acts of healing were also a fulfillment of the prophecies about the Messiah; Jesus was alluding to this passage in the Hebrew Bible to John:

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy. (Isaiah 35:5–6, NIV)

On a few occasions Yeshua even raised the dead. One man was dead four days before Yeshua arrived and resurrected him.

Yeshua, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Yeshua said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Yeshua looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Yeshua called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Yeshua said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:38–44, NIV)

This also connected Yeshua to the Hebrew Scriptures, for some of the ancient prophets such as Elijah and Elisha also raised some from the dead. Jesus, however, had a more extensive ministry of healing and raising-of-the-dead than any biblical prophet. This again helped the people of his time to understand who he was.

Section II: Part 4 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:58:57 -0800
5. Yeshua lived a sinless life http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-lived-a-sinless-life http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-lived-a-sinless-life

How is that possible? King Solomon himself affirmed that everybody sins:

When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin... (1 Kings 8:46, NIV)

Yet Jesus said to his listeners:

“Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?” (John 8:46, NIV)

The reason why Jesus was sinless—and could therefore be our own sin-bearer—is in the next section.

Section II: Part 5 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:58:07 -0800
6. Jesus was divine as well as human http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-was-born-to-a-virgin http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/yeshua-was-born-to-a-virgin

Yeshua claimed to be the God of Israel at the same time that he was a human being, a Jewish carpenter who lived in the town of Nazareth and had human emotions and feelings. In the Hebrew Bible, God conveys His name to Moses:

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:13-14, NIV)

Jesus applied God’s very name to himself:

(Jesus speaking) “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

“You are not yet fifty years old,” the Judeans* said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:56–58, NIV)

The implication was understood by his listeners:

“We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Judeans, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:33, NIV)

Yeshua did things only God can do, such as forgiving sins:

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:5–12, NIV)

Some Jewish people object that a man can’t become God. That is true! However, there is nothing that prevents God from taking on humanity if He wishes. For more on this, see the links on "How can God become a man?" as well as these articles:

Don’t Christians believe in three gods?

Jews have the Shema; do Christians believe in three gods?

* Many Bibles translate this as “the Jews.” It is better translated as “the Jewish leaders” or else “the Judeans” — since Jesus’ followers were also Jews!

Section II: Part 6 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:57:51 -0800
7. Yeshua rose from the dead http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/after-three-days-in-the-grave-yeshua-came-back-to-life http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/after-three-days-in-the-grave-yeshua-came-back-to-life

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most investigated events in history.

Some who have tried to disprove it have ended up convinced that it really happened. Jesus taught his followers that he would not only be killed as the atonement for our sins, but would rise from the grave:

 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” (Mark 10:33–34, NIV)

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time. (1 Corinthians 15:3–6, NIV)

So convinced were his followers that Yeshua had risen from death, that they staked their entire faith on it:

If Messiah has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17, NIV)

In fact, some of those who saw him after his resurrection were later persecuted or even put to death for testifying that they had seen him alive after his crucifixion. They were convinced that God had raised Yeshua!

Section II: Part 7 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:59:29 -0800
8. Forty days after his resurrection Yeshua returned to heaven http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/forty-days-after-his-resurrection-yeshua-returned-to-heaven http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/forty-days-after-his-resurrection-yeshua-returned-to-heaven

For some, his resurrection and his return to heaven are the clinchers that demonstrate that Jesus was indeed divine as well as human.

The New Testament records that:

...he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Yeshua, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1: 9–11, NIV)

For some, his resurrection and his return to heaven are the clinchers that demonstrate that Jesus was indeed divine as well as human.

Jesus then, is our atonement for sin. He fulfilled the prophecies of the coming Messiah about bearing our sins, as well as many others. His teaching, his acts of healing and raising the dead, and his sinless life convinced his followers that he was indeed the promised Messiah. And through his resurrection and return to heaven, many were convinced that he was the God of Israel come as a human being among His people Israel.

Back to our original dilemma: God offers an abundant, fulfilled life in relationship with Him. Our sins separate us from God, but in His love God has provided a provision for our sins, Yeshua. Now what?

Section II: Part 8 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:59:45 -0800
Who is Yeshua? Interactive Study Guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/who-is-yeshua-interactive-study-guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/who-is-jesus/who-is-yeshua-interactive-study-guide
  1. According to Luke 1:26-35, Yeshua's Father was God because:

    1. the biological father abandoned Mary, leaving God to protect and care for her and her baby. Incorrect: Mary was amazed about the announcement of her pregnancy since there was no biological father. (Luke 1:34).
    2. God caused a supernatural, miraculous conception, without the involvement of a man. Correct
  2. According to Matthew 12:15:

    1. Yeshua healed crowds of people. Correct
    2. Yeshua only healed a few people here and there. Incorrect: while Jesus did heal people here and there (for example, see Matthew 12:13), large numbers of people in need began following him.
  3. When Yeshua raised a man from the dead in the city of Nain, (Luke 7:11–17) he:

    1. was showing compassion for the dead man's widowed mother Correct
    2. in verse 16 the "fear" that they experienced was reverent awe, but they were happy that God was among them in a special way Incorrect: in verse 16 the "fear" that they experienced was reverent awe, but they were happy that God was among them in a special way
  4. In Matthew 9:1–8, when Yeshua told a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven, some of the religious leaders who heard him:

    1. told the man he should be thankful to Yeshua. Incorrect: there is no record of religious leaders saying anything in this narrative.
    2. thought to themselves that Yeshua had committed a terrible crime. Correct: they thought Yeshua was blasphemous because he claimed to do something only God can do. (see verse 3)
  5. In John 3:2 a man named Nicodemus acknowledged Yeshua as a teacher who came from God because:

    1. Nicodemus understood that the kind of miracles Yeshua performed were signs that God was with him. Correct
    2. Nicodemus was a gullible, uneducated person. Incorrect: Nicodemus was a Pharisee, and a member of the Jewish ruling council. (see verse 1)
  6. While celebrating Hanukkah at the Temple in Jerusalem, Yeshua said, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:25–30) because:

    1. the religious leaders had just asked how devoted he was to God. Incorrect: In verse 24 they had just asked whether or not he was the Messiah.
    2. he was responding to the question of his identity by telling why he was able to do things that only God could do Correct
  7. When Yeshua said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9) he was:

    1. responding to a sincere request to see God. Correct
    2. telling the religious leaders to look at him more closely Incorrect: he was talking to one of his own disciples who still did not realize who he was.
  8. When Yeshua told his disciples he was going to his father's house to prepare a place for them, (John 14:2–3) the point was:

    1. the disciples were tired of traveling so Yeshua was going to make room for them in the house where he grew up. Incorrect: he was not speaking of his mother’s husband’s house, but of God’s "house."
    2. Yeshua was leaving his disciples for a good reason, and though the separation would be painful, one day he would return to bring them to his heavenly home. Correct
  9. When Yeshua was tried before the Sanhedrin, (Mark 14:60–64) he was condemned and sentenced to death for:

    1. claiming to be the Messiah. Incorrect: while he did claim to be the Messiah in this passage, that in itself was not enough to sentence him to death.
    2. claiming to be divine Correct: Yeshua not only told the court that he was the Messiah, but also predicted that he would sit at the right hand of the Power (God) and return in the clouds of heaven. They realized he was claiming equality with God, and since they did not believe him, they condemned him for blasphemy.
  10. When King David wrote, "My God, My God why have you forsaken me" in Psalm 22:14-18 he was

    1. predicting the suffering and death of the Messiah, Yeshua. Correct: see Matthew 27:35
    2. dying at the hand of his enemies Incorrect: King David was being pursued by his enemies, but he did not die until much later, and not in the way described here.
  11. When Rabbi Paul was in prison for telling people about Yeshua and his jailer asked how he could be saved (Acts 16:30–31), Paul said that it was:

    1. by believing in Yeshua, and if the members of his household also believed, they too would be saved. Incorrect: by releasing Paul from prison and vowing to live a better life
    2. show by what they say that they believe Yeshua is Lord and that God raised him from the dead Correct
  12. When 1 John 1:7, talks about walking in the light, it means:

    1. when believers in Yeshua die they become angels. Incorrect: he is talking about how believers in Yeshua live in this life.
    2. believers in Yeshua have transformed lives because his sacrifice (the blood Yeshua shed on the cross) purifies them. Correct
Section II: Part 10 of 10
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II. Who is Yeshua? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:02:33 -0800
1. Repentance and Faith http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-have-a-personal-relationship-with-god/repentance http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-have-a-personal-relationship-with-god/repentance

Now that we have seen who Yeshua is and what he has done for us, how can we know God personally and experience the forgiveness of our sins and the fullness of life (which the Bible calls “salvation”) that God offers? The answer is by simply placing our trust in Yeshua as our sin-bearer, turning from our sin and to Yeshua.

When we place our faith in Jesus as our sin-bearer, we are at the same time turning away from our sins. Another way to say this is that when we trust in Jesus, we are simultaneously repenting of our sins. Repentance (teshuvah in Hebrew) simply means turning around from going in our own direction and turning instead to God. When we place our trust in Yeshua, we are simultaneously confessing our sins to God, which in the Bible simply means to agree with God that what we’ve done is wrong. We are turning away from our own broken, evil nature, and turning to God for help and healing. As we do so, He creates in us a new nature and a new faith-filled heart. The Hebrew Bible describes what God does when this happens:

“The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34, NIV)

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:25–26, NIV)

King David was someone who experienced this spiritual cleansing as he confessed his sins, which included adultery and murder-by-proxy. Psalm 51 depicts the king as turning to God and away from his sins. It is worth reading the first part of the poem:

Have mercy on me, O God,
            according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
            blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
            and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
            and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
            and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
            and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
            sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
            you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
            wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
            let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
            and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
            and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
            or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
            and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
            and sinners will turn back to you.
(Psalm 51:1–13, NIV)

Section III: Part 1 of 3
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III. How to have a personal relationship with God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:00:53 -0800
2. A Story and an Invitation http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-have-a-personal-relationship-with-god/faith http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-have-a-personal-relationship-with-god/faith

This is a beautiful portrait of confessing sin and trusting in God’s forgiveness. Likewise, the New Testament gives another picture of what it is like to turn from our sins and to God.

Here is the full story:

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:11–32, NIV)

Did King David, or the younger son in the story, think that confessing his sins to God would be the moment before the hammer falls, leading to a merciless God’s punishment? Not at all! Rather, turning from our sin in repentance and confession brings great joy to God. When we agree with Him that we have sinned and cast ourselves on Him like a little child, He is overjoyed!

You can place your trust and faith in Yeshua by means of voicing a prayer like this one (silently or aloud). Of course, it’s not the recitation of a prayer that brings us salvation, but what the prayer expresses of your heart’s desire:

“Dear God, I confess that I have sinned against you many times and I want to turn from my sins by trusting in Yeshua as my atonement and sin-bearer. I believe you provided Jesus as the full payment for my sin. Today I give my life to you. I surrender my life to become your follower and receive you into my life as my Lord and savior. Thank you God for cleansing me of sin and for sealing my name in your book of life forever. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. Help me to trust you and follow you every day. Amen.”

Remember, Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37). God’s love has made a provision for your and my sin, and by putting our faith in Yeshua, we are promised that He will never abandon us.

Not only are our sins forgiven through Jesus, but the New Testament also frequently speaks of faith or trust in him as leading to eternal life:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)

(Yeshua speaking) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24, NIV)

“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” (John 6:47, NIV)

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Yeshua the Messiah, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23, NIV [adapted])

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13, NIV)

What a wonderful gift—to be cleansed from our sins and to enjoy life with God forever! There is one more thing about faith that bears repeating: it is simple, childlike trust, the kind of trust reflected in the prayer above. We don’t earn forgiveness from sin, or a relationship with God, or eternal life, by being “good people” or by somehow conjuring up a certain feeling. We cannot “buy” this relationship. It is not a reward for doing good deeds, or mitzvot. If that were the case, we’d all fall short of the mark! Instead, it is a gift from God, as Paul explains:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8, NIV)

“Grace” means undeserved favor. We don’t earn eternal life; we don’t work for a relationship with God. It’s a simple, undeserved gift, because that is the kind of God we believe in. He gives us such a gift only because of who He is. If you said and meant the prayer above, then you received forgiveness of your sins and eternal life as a free gift that God has given you.

And if you prayed the prayer above, before you go to sleep tonight tell another believer in Jesus that you have decided to follow Yeshua. They will be glad to encourage you and pray for you in your new life with God. If you don’t know another believer in Jesus, we’d love to chat with you and pray with you and be the ones to encourage you in the new adventure you’ve begun.

Section III: Part 2 of 3
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III. How to have a personal relationship with God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:01:08 -0800
How to have a personal relationship with God - Interactive Study Guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-have-a-personal-relationship-with-god/relationship-interactive-study-guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-have-a-personal-relationship-with-god/relationship-interactive-study-guide
  1. In Jeremiah 17:9, God was telling the prophet Jeremiah:

    1. we can solve the problem of sin by understanding the heart of the sinner. Incorrect: the verse points out that human hearts are so deceitful that it’s beyond peoples’ ability to understand.
    2. all human beings have a spiritual heart problem and that’s why we all struggle with sin. Correct
  2. In Jeremiah 13:23 God was talking to people about:

    1. our powerlessness to change our basic nature, apart from the power of God. Correct
    2. forgiving themselves as a means of stopping their sinful behavior. Incorrect: God does have much to say about forgiveness, but we can’t effectively forgive or change ourselves until God forgives and empowers us.
  3. In James 1:15 we are told that sin::

    1. can be divided into seven categories of wrongdoing. Incorrect: this verse does not distinguish between types or degrees of sin, but explains the workings of any and all sin.
    2. begins with wanting wrong things, progresses to doing wrong things and eventually leads to death. Correct
  4. In Ezekiel 18:30, God was saying that He will judge everyone, and that people who want to avoid the consequences of sin:

    1. need to turn away (repent) from sin. Correct
    2. need to make sure they avoid doing the worst offenses. Incorrect: the verse doesn't talk about worst offenses; it talks about ALL offenses.
  5. Rabbi Paul indicates in Romans 7:24–25 that the only one who could rescue him from his own sin was God because:

    1. he (Paul) had lived a particularly scandalous and unholy life. Incorrect: Paul was among the sect of religious Jewish people who kept the law very strictly. See Acts 23:6
    2. no one, no matter how good they are compared to other people, has the power to overcome sin without God's help, which comes through Yeshua. Correct
  6. Hebrews 11:6 says the key to pleasing God and being spiritually transformed is:

    1. faith in God, who responds to those who believe He exists. Correct
    2. very different in the New Testament from what is taught in the Jewish Bible. Incorrect: in fact, the key to pleasing God is taken right from the book of Genesis, exemplified by Abraham when God asked him to leave his home, and later to give his only son.
  7. Proverbs 3:5–6 shows that an important part of faith is:

    1. learning how to trust ourselves. Incorrect: sometimes the things that seem good to us have disastrous effects (see Proverbs 14:12).
    2. trusting God for direction. Correct
  8. Psalm 37:5–6 shows that besides trusting God, having faith means:

    1. committing our ways to Him. Correct
    2. never having any questions or doubts. Incorrect: God asks us to believe, trust and commit ourselves to Him but He knows that everyone, at times, has moments of doubt or questioning
  9. Isaiah 53 [web: Can we have the whole chapter for them to mouse over?] sounds a lot like Jesus because:

    1. It is part of the New Testament, written after Jesus died on the cross. Incorrect: this prophecy was written in the Hebrew Bible hundreds of years before Jesus was crucified.
    2. God wanted people to be able to recognize, from the Hebrew prophecies, who Jesus is and why he died, so that when he came, we could trust in him for the forgiveness of our sin. Correct
  10. According to John 3:17 Yeshua came into the world to:

    1. explain how much God hates us because of our sin. Incorrect: God loves us and hates our sin because it separates us from Him.
    2. save us from the consequences of our sin by dying in our place as predicted in Isaiah 53. Correct
  11. When Yeshua said, "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37) he meant:

    1. only the best, most holy and deserving people would come to him. Incorrect: Yeshua made it clear that he came for people who knew they were sinners in need of forgiveness. (see Mark 2:17)
    2. you are part of that "whoever," and whatever your life has been like, Yeshua is inviting you to come to him to receive forgiveness and a new start. Correct
  12. John 3:36 explains that those who reject Jesus will not have eternal life because:

    1. unless we accept personal responsibility for the penalty Jesus paid on our behalf, God does not apply that payment to our sin, and the "outstanding deb"” on our sin means we forfeit the life God wants for us. Correct
    2. God is especially angry with people who don’t believe in Yeshua Incorrect: all sin separates people from God, and it’s that separation that prevents people from having eternal life
  13. The point Rabbi Paul was making in 2 Corinthians 6:2 is:

    1. you can wait to make things right with God, since He will always hear you. Incorrect: while it is true that God will hear you any day that you call on Him, it is also true that if you don’t call on Him when you know you should, you might put it off indefinitely.
    2. if you know that you need to be reconciled with God, don’t let anything stop you from receiving His salvation now . . . because no one knows what will happen tomorrow. Correct
Section III: Part 3 of 3
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III. How to have a personal relationship with God Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:02:33 -0800
Chat with Us http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/chat-with-us http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/chat-with-us

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IV. How to experience God daily Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:02:17 -0800
1. Talk to God daily http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/talk-to-god-daily http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/talk-to-god-daily

Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Can you imagine having a relationship with someone you never speak to? What would happen if you stopped talking to your best friend or to your spouse? What would happen if you stopped listening?

Now that God has forgiven your sins and made you one of His children you will want to learn to communicate with Him.

Prayer is simply talking with God. Many followers of Yeshua find it helpful to think of four ways to speak with God, easily remembered by the acrostic ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication).

Adoration: Adoration is praising and worshiping God for who He is. Psalm 100 is an example of adoration:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (NIV)

One way to adore God is to review what you learned about Him in the first section. Praise God that He and He alone is God; that He created everything; that He is all-powerful; that He is all-knowing; that He loves us even though we don’t deserve it; and that He forgives our sins.

Over time you will learn many other things about God and about who He is. As you do, write down what you learn and use that to praise and worship God the Father and Jesus.

Confession: Confession means to admit your sins and agree with God that your sin breaks His law and His heart, and therefore hinders your fellowship with Him. When God brings particular sins to mind, confess them to Him. Listen to these words from the Psalmist:

Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66:16–20, NIV).

In the words of the psalm, do not “cherish sin in your heart.” Confess your sins and you will experience God’s forgiveness. John wrote in the New Testament, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. . . . My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Messiah Yeshua, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:9, 2:1–2, NIV [adapted]).

David experienced this after his own sins, as we saw in a previous section. Here is yet another psalm of David describing how wonderful it is to be forgiven:

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:1–5, NIV).

 

Thanksgiving: Expressing gratitude is another component of our communication with God. King David said it best:

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2–5, NIV).

It may be impossible to remember all His benefits, but you can certainly think of some. You can thank God for all He has done for you personally. For example, He has saved you from punishment for your sins. Perhaps He has given you fulfilling relationships in life, or a good job, or an experience of the wonders of nature. Regardless of your circumstances, there are things to be grateful for.

David wrote a psalm of thanksgiving to celebrate his bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Take time to read it in 1 Chronicles 16:1–36. It is a wonderful example of a combination of praise and thanksgiving; you might simply read this psalm to God as you are learning to give thanks to Him.

Supplication, or making requests: Having worshiped God, confessed our sins to Him, and thanked Him for His many blessings, now we are ready to ask for His intervention here on earth on behalf of others and ourselves. In the New Testament book of James, we read, “… pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16, NIV). Paul asked the congregations that he began to pray for him (Colossians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:25) and in turn he prayed for them (Colossians 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11). Paul also suggested praying for society and civic leaders:

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1–2, NIV).

We can pray for others and for our own needs, and expect that God will act. It may be helpful to make a list of people and things to be praying for. You may want to pray for specific people on specific days, or for some people every day. Pray in expectation that God will answer. And realizing that He is wiser than we are, recognize that sometimes God may answer “no,” or answer in an unexpected way. But He will answer! One good prayer request is that God will help you to “hear” His answer. This doesn’t mean He responds in an audible voice, but if you open your heart to what God wants you to know, over time, you’ll learn to recognize His response.

Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication are the basic
elements of prayer. Prayer is the first key to experiencing God every day of your life.

Section IV: Part 1 of 5
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2. Listen to what God has already said http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/listen-to-god-daily http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/listen-to-god-daily

This is the second key. God has already spoken to us through His written word, the Bible, which is also referred to as the Scripture. He has told us what we need to know about living a fulfilling and meaningful life, and it’s up to us to dig in. The Bible is easily available in stores, on the Internet, as apps for mobile devices and even as audiobooks.

Several verses show us how valuable the Bible is for us:

Your word is a lamp to my feet
            and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV)

Directly or indirectly, the Bible addresses all aspects of our lives. It can be helpful to develop a Bible reading plan that fits you. For example, you might begin with the Gospel of John. Some find it helpful to read one psalm and a chapter of Proverbs each day, or a chapter of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) each day. Consider how what you are reading applies to you. Some parts of the Scripture are easier to understand than other parts, and it is normal not to understand all of it at first. What you do understand will help you grow as a follower of Yeshua and become more like him. As you grow spiritually, you will find that portions of the Bible you didn’t understand at first will begin to make sense.

You can find suggested Bible reading plans at https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/, or simply search “bible reading plans” for similar sites.

A book such as How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth,by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, can help orient you as a new Bible reader. It’s easily available via amazon.com. A book series such as The Bible Speaks Today (published by InterVarsity Press) can help you with individual books of the Bible.

As you read through the Bible, you will find it contains many prayers that might express some of the things you want to say to God. Reading the Bible can help deepen your prayer life, just as praying can help deepen your Bible-reading experience.

In summary, when we pray, we speak to God, and open our hearts to hearing from Him. When we read the Bible with an open heart, God speaks to us. Praying is something you can do throughout the day, but it’s especially helpful to pray before reading the Bible.

Section IV: Part 2 of 5
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3. Spend time with other followers of Yeshua http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/spend-time-with-other-followers-of-yeshua http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/spend-time-with-other-followers-of-yeshua

The writer of Hebrews understood the importance of spending time with other believers.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25, NIV).

The first believers in Jesus met regularly for prayer, Bible teaching and fellowship:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42–47, NIV).

Whenever people came to know Yeshua, they always met with other local believers in congregations for worship and instruction. Much of the New Testament consists of letters written to congregations of Jews and non-Jews who gathered in worship each week. You should seek to find a congregation that will help you grow spiritually (including helping you in understanding the Bible). If you need a referral to such a congregation in your area, email us at jfj@jewsforjesus.org. Tell us a little about yourself and your religious background and if possible, we’ll take that into account in making the referral.

Section IV: Part 3 of 5
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How to experience God daily - Interactive Study Guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/experiencing-god-interactive-study-guide http://stantelchin.org/~jfjprod/how-to-know-god/how-to-experience-god-daily/experiencing-god-interactive-study-guide
  1. According to Acts 2:42, from the very beginning people who followed Yeshua knew that:

    1. Once they were saved, they were all set and could continue their lives as before. Incorrect: being saved means having a new life, and the new life was meant to be different from the old (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).
    2. in order to grow in their new life they needed to hear from God through prayer, through learning more about what the Bible says, and through being with others who were on the same path so they could strengthen and encourage one another. Correct
  2. The word "ACTS" is an acrostic (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) that can help you remember four elements of prayer so that:

    1. You remember that prayer includes giving God what is due to Him as well as asking for His help. Correct
    2. You remember that there are four ways of getting what you want from God. Incorrect
  3. Psalm 22:3 helps us understand that adoring God is important because:

    1. when we praise (adore) God we experience His presence in a special way. Correct
    2. God needs our praises to be happy. Incorrect: God enjoys our praises but He doesn’t need them; in fact it is the other way around
  4. An example of thanksgiving, found in Psalm 136:1–3, stresses that:

    1. it's important to thank God for who He is today because we don’t know what He will do tomorrow. Incorrect: God does not change, see James 1:17
    2. there is no end to God's love Correct
  5. The example of confession found in Psalm 51:3–4 teaches us that:

    1. The closer we get to God, the more deeply aware we become of our sin and need to repent when we do wrong. Correct
    2. The longer we know God and the closer we get to Him, the less we have to worry about confessing our sin. Incorrect:
  6. Philippians 4:6 talks about supplication as "making our petitions known to God" and advises:

    1. that we only do so as a last resort so that He’ll hear us when it really counts. Incorrect: it says "in everything" (in all circumstances) give thanks and ask God for what you need.
    2. instead of worrying, we should bring our concerns and needs straight to God. Correct
  7. Psalm 1:1–3 teaches the importance of listening to God by:

    1. judging the wicked. Incorrect: this is not what the verses are saying, even though it can be hard to hear God if you are following people who mock Him.
    2. meditating on His Word. Correct
  8. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 shows that studying the Bible is important because:

    1. God gave us the Scriptures so that we could know right from wrong and have a complete, working knowledge of how to live life. Correct
    2. You can't get to heaven until you have memorized a certain number of verses. Incorrect: Yeshua made it clear that he was going to willingly lay down his life . . . and that he expected to come back from the dead. See John 10:17-18
  9. In John 6:45, Yeshua was teaching that:

    1. sooner or later, God will teach everyone everything they need to know, whether or not they are interested. Incorrect: the verse is about people who listen to God and learn from Him.
    2. we learn from the father by listening to His son, Yeshua, the Messiah Correct
  10. 1 John 1:7 teaches that walking in the light:

    1. refers to how much brighter we look next to people who don't know Jesus. Incorrect: following Yeshua isn't about comparing ourselves to other people.
    2. puts us in the company of other people who have been purified through Yeshua. Correct
  11. John 1:41 implies that people who know that Yeshua is the Messiah tell others about him because:

    1. if they don't, no one will like them Incorrect: people may or may not like hearing about Yeshua, but when you care for people you don’t only say things you know they will like.
    2. when you discover something important, you want to share it with people who are important to you. Correct
  12. In Acts 20:21 Rabbi Paul taught that when telling people about Yeshua,

    1. it's okay to tell Gentiles, but not Jews. Incorrect: in fact, while Paul was considered a missionary to the Gentiles, he routinely brought the gospel to his Jewish people first and then went on to tell others (see Acts 9:20).
    2. all people everywhere need to hear about coming to God through repentance and faith in Yeshua. Correct
Section IV: Part 4 of 5
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IV. How to experience God daily Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:02:33 -0800