Designed to involve the individual in systematic Bible study, these twelve lessons trace the Christian life from conversion to maturity. The illustrative drawings, helpful review questions, and suggested Bible memory verses are valuable for both personal research and group discussions. The Abundant Life analyzes the basics of the Christian experience one at a time, picturing them as physical actions. For example, it compares Bible study to eating, prayer to talking, forgiveness to washing. These simple analogies make the material easy to understand. An effective tool for evangelism or individual study, The Abundant Life points out the how-to of obtaining and enjoying a meaningful relationship with God.
About the Author
RAY BAUGHMAN (1925-1999) (B.A., Dallas Bible College; Ed.D., Luther Rice Seminary) taught for thirty years on the faculty of Dallas Bible College and ten years on the faculty of Southeastern Bible College. He was an ordained Baptist minister who also pastored four independent churches. He is author of a number of books including The Abundant Life, The Kingdom of God Visualized, and Creative Bible Study Methods. Ray and his wife, Lucy, were married for just over 50 years and had three children.
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The Abundant Life
A Bible Study
By Ray E. Baughman, Glenn Retzlaff
Moody PublishersCopyright © 1987 Ray E. Baughman
All rights reserved.
Meet a very special Person, and become personally acquainted with Him. We know of the President of the United States, but very few of us have ever personally met him. We believe that he exists, and we know a lot of facts about him, but we do not actually know him.
Most people have heard of Jesus Christ. They know and believe certain facts about Him—His birth, His teachings, His death and resurrection, but they never have met Him in a personal way so He could become their Saviour and Lord.
Many people look to Jesus as the perfect example after which to pattern their lives. His life was perfect, without flaw, above reproach and unmarred by sin. Even the judge who condemned Him to death said, "I find no fault in him" (John 19:4). But every honest person must admit that even though the pattern is perfect he is unable to follow it. You must come to know Him as more than a good example.
A Teacher or Prophet
While Jesus was on earth, great crowds came to hear Him speak and teach. The rich, the poor, the highly educated and the common people all recognized that Jesus was a great Teacher, that He was "come from God" (John 3:2). His cleverest enemies failed to trap Him with their questions. But Jesus told the ruler of the Jews in John 3:1–15 that he needed to know more about Him than the fact that He was a great Teacher or a Prophet.
The Sunday before Jesus died great crowds of people wanted to make Him their king. They were looking for someone to remove them from under the hand of Rome and restore their independence. But before they could know Him as King they needed to meet Him in a different way, as their Redeemer.
A Martyr or a Hero
Everyone admires a hero, or a person who is martyred for a good cause, but Christ's death was not just a horrible mistake or an accident. It was for this purpose that Christ came into the world—to die. It was planned before the world began (Acts 2:23; I Peter 1:20). Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels to help Him (Matthew 26:53). You must understand that Jesus is more than just a martyr.
Before you can meet Christ as your Saviour, you must understand four things.
Man was originally created for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7). But this original purpose was interrupted by sin, and man became very evil and unprofitable (Romans 3:10–12). Now the sentence of death is over all men for "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23); "for the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) ; and the sentence is already upon us (John 3:18). So—
1. You need to be saved.
2. You cannot save yourself; salvation is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; Romans 6:23).
3. Christ has purchased salvation for you. Christ has paid the penalty as your Substitute: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (I Peter 2:24); "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Galatians 3:13; Isaiah 53:6).
4. You must believe and receive Jesus as your Saviour.
This is the way in which you must know Him. Jesus said: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20) ; "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).
If you will receive Him and the saving work which He has performed for you, then you also receive eternal life, for eternal life is in Him, the Son of God (John 3:16; I John 5:11–13).
You can know and understand all these things but it will not help until you receive Him by faith into your heart.
1. The great purpose of the Bible is to give a history of the world (John 20:31).Check true or false. T F
2. In John 8:12 Peter is called the light of the world. T F
3. All men are willing to come to the light of Jesus (John 3:19). T F
4. Those who do evil are afraid that their evil deeas will be reproved (John 3:20). T F
5. If a man sins he is a servant of sin (John 8:34). T F
6. Jesus said in John 16:9 that not believing on Him is a sin. T F
7. All men are sinners (Rom. 3:23) T F
8. The result of sin is death (Ezek 18:4; Rom. 6:23). T F
9. The sinner is not under condemnation now but will be when he dies (John 3:18). T F
10. Christ came to condemn you (John 3:17). T F
11. Even though man is sinful God loves him (John 3:16). T F
12. Because Christ died for everyone He will automatically save everyone (John 8:24). T F
13. Jesus was proved guilty of several faults at His trial (John 19:4; Heb. 4:15). T F
14. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust [your name_____________], that he might _____________ us to God" (I Peter 3:18). "Who his own self bare our [your name _____________] sins in his own body on the tree." (I Peter 2:24).
15. Romans 6:23 teacnes eternal life is a ____________________________
16. You receive it by doing more good things than bad things (Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). T F
17. What are your "righteousnesses" (good works) like in God's sight (Isa. 64:6)? ________________
18. Could there be another way to God (Prov. 14:12; John 14:6; Acts 4:12)? _______________
19. [begin strikethrough]Jesus says: "Behold,
20. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them [your name _________________] that believe on his name" (John 1:12).
21. If you say, "I'll take my place as a sinner, for all have sinned (Rom. 3:23); I turn to Christ, the One who died in my place (I Peter 3:18); and receive Jesus as my personal Saviour" (John 1:12), will He save you? _____________
22. Have you received Him? ________________ When? _______________
23. Do you believe He has saved you (John 5:24)? ______________
24. To whom did Thomas speak just after he believed (John 20:28, 29)? _________________
25. Whom should you thank after you believe? _______________ Have you? _____________
26. What did Jesus tell the man in Mark 5:19 to do? _______________________________
Will you do the same? ___________________CHAPTER 2
LIFE HAS BEGUN
The angels are rejoicing.—Luke 15:10
For a new "babe" has been born again into the kingdom of God, for to the best of your knowledge you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.
If—this is true, then the Bible says that you have been born of God (John 1:12, 13). If you have not received Him, you should stop now and take this step. Do not try to "play Christian."
You have been born into the wealthiest family in the universe. You have become heir to many wonderful privileges and possessions, not only in this age but in the age to come (I Peter 1:3, 4).
It is important to remember that regardless of your position or training in the world, you are a spiritual "babe." Your present concern should be growth (I Peter 2:2, 3; I Corinthians 3:1).
In the following studies you will try to discover, to claim, to put to use, and to share your inheritance. Just as an heir often must wait until he is twenty-one years old, you will find that you must "grow up" spiritually before you can claim all your privileges.
It is not houses and lands, education and occupation, or the future wife and grandchildren of the new baby that concern the parents at his birth, but several important immediate needs.
Protection from Disease
Doctors and nurses try very hard to protect a new baby from germs. You also must be guarded against the attacks of Satan. He has become very angry at losing a member of his kingdom, so now he will try to make your life a bad example before the world. Satan likes to see sinful, defeated Christians.
Doctors know certain diseases exist and they give shots to children while they are still healthy, so the germs may be counteracted if contacted.
You will be most sensitive to diseases that will hinder your spiritual growth in the first few days and weeks. Many a Christian's life has been stunted during this period.
The Disease of Doubt
Satan usually attacks first with doubts. The main thought he will try to plant is that God is not good.
A baby needs to feel secure and safe and loved. Satan will attempt to discredit the work that God has performed in your life. He will whisper to you, "You don't think that you are saved just by believing and receiving Jesus as your Saviour? You will need to do more than that to have your sins blotted out and to get to Heaven." What can you do? See what God says, and stand on His promises.
What does God promise? I John 5:11, 12: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." This is the first of four verses you should commit to memory. The thought of the effort involved to do this may be as distasteful to you as shots to a child. However, you will soon see the value of hiding the Word in your heart (Ps. 119:11), as you use the sword of the Spirit to meet the attacks of Satan.
Satan soon counters with the thought, O.K., so you have life, but you cannot live the way you should. What about THIS sin (as he brings a sin to your remembrance), You cannot quit that? God will expect too much of you. Why not give up now? It is no use trying; you are too weak. Again, rely upon God's promise, His faithfulness. I Corinthians 10:13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (Carry these verses with you. Use spare minutes to go over them.)
Just as little children often stray off and fall into the mud, even so Christians sometimes fall into sin. Satan, never missing an opportunity, is quick with the thought, Now you have done it. A holy God won't have anything to do with you now. Christians don't act that way. But just as a loving parent will pick up his crying child and clean the mud from his hands, even so we have a wonderful promise from our heavenly Father.
What does God say? I John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
A baby is very helpless. Parents must do and provide almost everything for him. So in order to meet Satan's accusation that God is not good we have this precious promise to stand on. John 16:24: "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).
Claim this verse by asking God to help you memorize His Word. Repeat the reference at the beginning and end each time you practice to help fix it in your mind. The secret of memorizing is review.
To a large extent how fast you grow spiritually will depend upon YOUR attitude.
What Can a Baby Do?
There are three main things a new baby can do—cry, eat and sleep.
You now have the privilege of crying unto God the Father, in the name of God the Son, Jesus Christ. Up until this time your prayers have been hindered (Isaiah 59:1, 2; John 9:31). Whether you realized it or not, you were in the terrible position of pushing aside with scorn the greatest gift God had—His Son (John 3:16); and then attempting to reach by Him to ask for selfish desires, or petty favors, or to try to bargain with God. Now you are on praying ground. "Ask, and it shall be given you" (Matthew 7:7, 8). For now you are asking in the name of God the Son and at His request (John 16:24).
Just as a baby needs food, so you need spiritual food. You would not think of waiting till Sunday and just dishing out a helping of whatever happened to be in the refrigerator, and then inviting the baby back next week for the next meal. Or saying, "If you get hungry before then, just walk into the kitchen and fix yourself a snack." In the first place he would be helpless; he couldn't walk or know what was in the cans; and if he did find something the chances are he could not digest it. No, a baby needs a special diet and a feeding schedule so he may grow properly. Likewise, spiritual "babes" to grow properly have certain needs that must be met.
First Feeding Formula
The Milk of the Word
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (I Peter 2:2). With this lesson is a reading chart. Start feeding on the Word by reading the Gospel of John; then go to I and II Peter. Be sure you mark your chart each time you finish reading, and write the date beside each book when you finish it Decide to read a portion every day (I Timothy 4:13; Revelation 1:3).
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Resolve to start your new life right by attending a Bible-believing church the very first Sunday after receiving Jesus as Saviour.
"That I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11, 16). Continue to work on the verses on the cards in the memory pack.
Check the following: With God's help I will if at all possible—
1. Read a portion from His Word each day._______
2. Attend a Bible-believing church Sunday._______
3. Memorize the four verses this week._______
4. Finish the answer sheets on Lessons 1 and 2 this week._______
A new baby spends much of his time sleeping. Several things must happen if he gets the needed rest. He must be fed the proper diet, and his body must digest the food. Often you need to be spiritually "burped" to remove the little problems that arise, so the Word may be spiritually digested and go out into your life as you grow in the Lord. But besides this a baby needs to feel loved and safe. This is expressed in the saying, "Safe as a baby in its mother's arms."
What? How? Why?
Sooner or later every child will get to wondering, and ask the questions, "Where did I come from or how was I born? Am I really the child of my parents or was I adopted? Do I really belong to them?" The child of God will have questions also.
You have met a Person. Salvation is not something, it is Somebody. You received Jesus as your Saviour, and He gave you His life and His nature. Salvation is the miracle of receiving life, Christ's life (I John 5:11).
God does not promise your conversion will be emotional, although it may be. He does not promise it will be spectacular, as the apostle Paul's or sensational. But in Revelation 3:20 He does say if you open the door He will come in. Feelings change like the weather, but His Word "liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:23).
Faith is just taking God at His word to keep His promises. You are held by a threefold cord:
1. Perfection of Christ's redemption (Hebrews 9:12).
2. Promise of Christ's word (John 6:40).
3. Purpose of Christ's will (John 17:24).
New Testament Reading Record
Each day as you finish reading, draw a line through the number of each chapter you have read that day. For example, suppose the first day you read 3 chapters in John, the next day 5 more, the next day 3, etc.
Excerpted from The Abundant Life by Ray E. Baughman, Glenn Retzlaff. Copyright © 1987 Ray E. Baughman. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Meeting Christ - Salvation2. Life Has Begun - Assurance3. Learning to Eat - How to feed on the Word4. Learning to Talk - The privilege and power of prayer5. Starting to Walk - Three classes of men6. Walking Without Stumbling - Temptations7. Washing and Spanking - Forgiveness and chastening8. Enjoying the Family - Growing through fellowship with others9. Growing Through Fellowship with God - Getting to "know Him"10. Following Directions - Finding God's will for your life and for daily living11. Fishing - Co-laborers with God12. Spiritual Child Care - Follow-up