40 DAY STUDY
In all probability someone has shared this study guide with you immediately following your decision to die with Jesus in water baptism. You have just come forth from the water, all your sins have been forgiven and there is now the new power of the Holy Spirit in your life. You were willing to ‘count yourself nothing’ and now God has raised you up to live a new life unto Him. You have now become a
‘bond-servant’ of the Lord, that is, a servant who serves without thought of pay.
One of the things a disciple of Jesus learns very quickly is that there is much that he or she doesn’t know or understand. You too will learn this, but it should in no way discourage you. It should only humble you. This study guide is designed to help you have some direction each day for the next forty days as you start listening to the voice of God as He begins to direct your whole life.
Determine right now that you are going to make this a rich and powerful study. Open wide your heart and let God do with you all He wants to. Make sure that you have a definite time and a definite place reserved each day to be studying the Scriptures so you can keep hearing the Word of God as the Holy Spirit will teach you. God is your only strength and if you stray from Him you will fall away. Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from this most crucial time. Keep a notebook and be prepared to share it with an older brother or sister.
Why forty days? Because right after Jesus’ water baptism where He received the Holy Spirit, He was led into the desert to be tempted by Satan for 40 days. You too will face temptations. Now just as Jesus was victorious over those temptations you can too be if you will draw close to God. Satan will attack you. He knows you are young and vulnerable, but God is with you and with the weapons of righteousness in the right and the left hands you can defeat anything that would take your new life from you.
“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’…Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for 40 days he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 3:21-22 & 4:1)
DEAD TO SELF, ALIVE TO CHRIST
This week you will be studying passages in the Scriptures that show us so clearly what the problem is. The problem is the ‘self’ that lives for itself. Christ calls us to crucify the old self and he promises to raise up a new and very different self.
Before you actually begin your Bible study program please take a few minutes and write down in your own words what your baptism into Jesus Christ meant to you. Why did you do it? What is it going to mean? If you will keep this in a safe place it will mean a great deal to you for years to come. It will serve as a reminder to you of the serious commitment that you made this day.
Turn to Luke 9:18-26. Read and study this passage several times.
Now turn to Luke 18:28-30 and look at the promise that is attached to discipleship, indeed to the very decision that you have just made.
These two passages will become very important as you will share your life in Christ with others. Remember where they are and what they say. As you continue to go through this study, remember that everything you learn is something that the Holy Spirit will have you pass on to others.
Be sure to spend time in prayer at the end of your study sessions. Learn to deeply communicate with your Father who loves you so very much!
Turn to Romans 6:1-14. Read and study this carefully. Each time you come to the word ‘we’ or ‘us’ substitute your own name. [For example: vs. 2 – ‘By no means. John died to sin, how can he live in it any longer.’]
Write down some of the things about your old self that caused it to receive the death sentence.
Write down some things about your new self that you really want to express.
How do you specifically plan today to live out vs. 13?
Before you start today’s study, ask yourself a very important question: Am I staying in close touch with older Christians? This is crucial, and all next week the Bible study will focus on this. If there is anything in you that is not wanting to see or be with other disciples, then you can be sure that this is something that is not of God and must be crucified. It is your old independent self, not the new self God is giving you.
Turn to Romans 7:14-25 and read how powerless we are to live this new life alone. Do you see why God’s Spirit must be the one who crucifies your sinful nature? Do you see how wicked you are? Notice vs. 24.
But now go on to Romans 8 where we see how we can do the impossible. You were told at your baptism that you would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; now study some of what the Spirit means in your life. Read and study verse 1-17, making notes on the things that strike you the hardest. How do you get sin crucified in your life? Read Romans 8:13.
As you have questions about things that you are studying or things that are happening to you, seek out some of your older brothers and sisters and let them help you. They have been through many things you will go through.
For this Bible study you will need both the Old Testament and a New Testament. If you don’t have both, make arrangements to get them right away.
When we are children, we need to be taught things we don’t know; and we need correction when we are wrong. You are a baby in Jesus Christ. There is much you don’t know about how to live and many areas in which you will need correction. All of this will improve your spiritual walk with God. Read Proverbs 12:1-2, 12:15 & 10:17.
Write down your own attitudes toward being corrected. Distinguish between those things that are left over from your old self and those things that Jesus Christ is putting in your heart. Be praying for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom here.
Go to the New Testament now and read 2 Timothy 3:16 and answer this question: Why are older brothers and sisters to bring the word of God to you? What is going to be your attitude when they do?
In your new life you will find that ‘attitude is everything.’ If you develop a critical, negative or pessimistic attitude, you will put out the Spirit’s fire in your life. Today the Bible study will focus on the reason you can keep a great attitude even in the worst of circumstances.
Read and examine each of the following passages: John 16:33, Romans 8:23, Philippians 4:12-13 & 19, and James 1:2-4.
When does this fit with having a good attitude regardless of what is happening?
When these are all put together, what are they promising you about everything in your life?
List anything that is tending to cause you to have a bad [negative, complaining, pessimistic] attitude. Confess these right away to another disciple and ask for their prayers and encouragement.
By today, you have certainly realized that you are not doing all for Jesus Christ that you determined to do five or six days ago. You want to love him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. But you have failed in some specific areas. What you will study today will be very important in dealing with this for the rest of your life.
Turn to 1 John 1:5-10. Read it carefully.
Think of the difference in light and darkness. Think of the difference between a bright open room with lots of windows and a totally dark basement area. In one, things are out in the open. You can see them as they really are. In the other, things are hidden and covered by the darkness. With this in mind, what does he mean when he calls us to ‘walk in the light’? Do you see how this fits with verse 9 and the call to confess our sins?
We all [from the oldest to the youngest in Christ] sin. If we claim that we don’t, we lie, [vs. 10]. How then are we to handle all this? Do we cover and hide our sins? Or do we bring them out into the open through confession where the blood of Jesus can cleanse us?
Look at the two results of walking out in the light as described in vs. 7. How will this cause a deeper fellowship with the brothers and sisters?
Remember this trustworthy saying: Satan’s only ground is darkness. When we confess our sins and bring them out into the light, we take away from him his power over us.
As you come to the end of this first week as a committed disciple of Jesus Christ, go back to the most basic idea of discipleship. Turn to Galatians 2:20.
Every time your old nature tries to assert itself you can say, ‘I have been crucified with Christ’. Concerning what things do you especially need to say that today? Write them down.
As you determine what you should do with your day remember: ‘I ______, no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’ Meditate on this great truth in scripture and then determine to let the Holy Spirit make it a reality. Let Jesus Christ use you to meet His needs and desires.
Focus on Paul’s words today. ‘You are not your own; you were bought with a price’, [1 Corinthians 6:19-20] Believe that with all your heart. You are not your own. You no longer go where you want to go or do what you want to do. You are a bond-servant, a slave unto Jesus.
As a new baby, you need to be daily in touch with others who are ready to give you encouragement and guidance. If you have been avoiding that contact, determine now to deal with that wrong attitude that is developing.
NO LIFE OUTSIDE THE BODY
Begin today by reading Matthew 28:18-20 concentrating on vs. 18 and vs. 20. What do these two verses say to you?
Jesus Christ who has all authority taught us that the church is very, very important. In Matthew 16:16-18, Jesus hears Peter confess him to be the Christ, the Son of God; and immediately Jesus said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.’ Jesus saw the church as the center of his plan. He wanted to build it and he intended to make it so strong that the forces of Satan could not stand against it. What Jesus counted as so important, we too must count as so important.
For a true picture of what the church should be striving to become every day, look at Acts 2:40-47
What can you do today and the rest of this week to contribute to this kind of life among God’s people, [the church]?
Paul describes the church as the ‘Body of Christ’. Read Romans 12:1-8 and see how giving yourself first to God leads to giving yourself to other people in the Body of Christ.
Notice particularly vs. 5 which says, ‘each member belongs to all the others’ or ‘we are all members of one another’. How does this fit with or conflict with the American ideal of individualism?
List three things that you know already that you can do for other members of the Body of Christ. Share these with another brother or sister.
List at least three things that you know you need from the Body of Christ in order to grow in Christ. Share these also with another person.
Read Ephesians 4:1-5. Why does it seem to you that God is so very concerned about the Body of Christ being in unity and peace?
Turn to Romans 14:12-15:3 and read how far we should go and how much we should bend to keep the Body of Christ together.
Is there anything in your life that is so important to you that you would not give up even if it was keeping people from coming to Jesus Christ or growing in him? If there is, look back at vs. 21 and seek help in dealing with this sin in your life.
God is greatly concerned about the unity of the church, but he is also greatly concerned about the purity of the Body of Christ. We are called to a holy life and a pure life, and sin in the Body that is being hidden or ignored will destroy the power of the church.
Read Ephesians 5:1-14. List those things which are described here as improper for God’s holy people.
How would living as ‘children of the light’ be totally different from these things you have just listed? What is the basic difference?
You are a young Christian, but what should you do if you see brothers or sisters falling into some sin? Read Galatians 6:1-2.
What is the one thing that must be in the church and in our relationships above all else? Read the following passages: John 13:34-35, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Galatians 5:6 and 13-14, Ephesians 5:1-2, Colossians 3:14, 1 Peter 4:8.
For a more precise definition of love, compare John 13:34-35 with 1 John 3:16. List all the things you can think of that describe the way Jesus loved us.
How are you progressing in your relationships with your new brothers and sisters in Christ? Are they seeing your love for them? Many new Christians just want to be loved and to be served. Ask the Holy Spirit to crucify this self centered Christianity.
One of the things we can all do for one another in the Body is give encouragement. Read a powerful statement about this in Hebrews 3:12-14.
According to this passage, what is to be the specific purpose of our encouragement? What do you think will be involved in giving this kind of specific encouragement? Ask an older brother and sister how the Spirit might lead you to do this.
Look at 2 Timothy 4:2. Notice that we can encourage people by bringing the Word to them. In your relationships try to share with someone every day something you have found in God’s Truth that is inspiring and encouraging to you.
When problems develop in the Body between brothers and sisters, they must be dealt with so that Satan is given no opportunity to enter in. Read Matthew 18:15-20 which gives us the right way to deal with such situations.
Determine early in your Christian life that you will not complain or grumble behind someone’s back about what they have done. Determine that you will always go to them and resolve the problem with God’s Spirit.
GO MAKE DISCIPLES
This week we want to look at how God plans to use you to bring others into the freedom from sin that you have found in Christ. First, we will consider how important your own life is in sharing with others.
To be a disciple is to come under the discipline of Jesus Christ. To be a disciple is to let Jesus Christ be Lord in all the areas of your life. Examine carefully the following items and make sure that you are opening up and working on those that are applicable to you. Are you hearing the voice of the Spirit directing you on the following areas? Sexuality, greed, money, time management and gentleness? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.
Turn to 1 Peter 3:13-17 and especially note vs. 15 & 16.
What is involved in each of these statements:
a. ‘In your hearts acknowledge Christ as the Holy Lord’
b. ‘Always be prepared to give an answer…’
c. ‘With gentleness and respect’
d. ‘Keeping a clear conscience’
Who are the people around you? Write down their names. They need to hear the answer about Jesus Christ as Lord. Stop now and pray for them.
The last words a person speaks usually tell us a lot about the major things on the heart. Turn to Matthew 28:18-20 and read again the final commission of Jesus before he left this world.
What does it mean to you that ‘all authority has been given to Jesus Christ’? What does it mean that he has given all authority over to you?
What are the implications for your life of this statement to ‘Go’? What is the Holy Spirit telling you this means for your life?
When we ‘go’, what does Jesus want us to do?
Look back over the list of people you wrote down yesterday. Begin praying for them specifically that you may ‘go’ to them with the message of Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit for the words and then step out to share what you know.
Start today with Colossians 4:2-6.
List all the things you find here that relate to sharing your faith with others.
What does it mean to ‘Make the most of every opportunity’?
How did you use the opportunities the Lord gave you this week?
We tend to think that certain situations are not good ones for sharing the Gospel. Most of us would find being in prison and in chains a terrible circumstance for evangelism. Read Acts 16:22-34.
What situations are you in right now? Write down why these situations make sharing the Gospel difficult. Having done this, now give all these excuses up to the Lord and claim the fact that he is able to work powerfully in all circumstances. Turn over to Philippians 4:4-6 for encouragement.
To ‘Go make disciples’ we need great boldness and courage. In ourselves we don’t have what it takes. The Holy Spirit will fill us with the boldness we need. Read Acts 4:8-13.
Also notice the message we must proclaim. It is found in verse: 12. Don’t water this message down. It is the only thing that can change men’s lives.
Look also at 2 Timothy 1:7. When you find yourself being timid, you can be sure that it is your self. For God has not given you a spirit of fear. Deny your fear and God will give you courage.
No real evangelism or discipling takes place until we have brought a person into the body of Christ. As you share with people, make every effort to introduce them to the members of the Body.
Look at Acts 2:42-48. This is to be the spirit found in our fellowship. Then those who visit will know that God is really alive.
You have now been a disciple for three weeks. You should be having an impact on others for Jesus Christ by now. If this is not happening, or if you see that it could be happening much more, get with an older brother or sister and share what is going on. Let them help and encourage you.
THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
During this week of the study, we will look at the God we worship and the way he expresses himself in the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
Turn to Mark 14:32-35. Notice the word Jesus uses for God. It is the Aramaic word ‘Abba’. It was an intimate word and no Jew ever used it before Jesus to describe God. It was the word little boys and girls used for their daddies. Look at Romans 8:15-17 and Galatians 4:6. Do you see the kind of God we have and how we can approach him?
Read John 1:1-18. According to these passages, what is it that we find in Jesus Christ? What does it mean to your personal life that he is this way?
Look closely at what he went through for you. Take an Old Testament and read Isaiah 53 and see the statement made about him even before he appeared on earth.
When you were baptized into Jesus Christ, you received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Today and tomorrow we want to look at some of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Turn to John 16:5-15 and read carefully, looking for teaching about the work of the Spirit.
Notice he is, the Spirit of Truth; will be with you forever; and will live in you. What is this going to mean to your life?
Read John 16:5-1
The work of the Spirit involves convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgment. How would you relate this passage to the ideas found in Ephesians 6:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Hebrews 4:12-13?
Continuing to look at the work of the Holy Spirit, turn to Romans 8 and read verses: 1-17.
Focus in on verses 9-11. What kind of promise is made to you here?
In our lives we have been enslaved to various passions and desires. On our own we found we had no real power to break free from those. Notice the message in vs. 12 and 13. How do we put to death the misdeeds of the body?
Notice vs: 14-17 how the Spirit of God in us brings us into an intimate relationship with God.
It is important to learn all you can about Jesus Christ because of what the following scriptures teach: 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Romans 8:29. What do these passages teach about our relationship to Jesus Christ?
Look also at 1 John 3:2-3. What is the ‘hope’ referred to in verse 3?
List at least three things that are found in Jesus Christ that you want to work on in your own life.
How would you respond to someone who might say, ‘Trying to be like Jesus Christ is an impossible dream. It can only frustrate you’?
REMEMBER: GET HELP FROM AN OLDER DISCIPLE AS YOU MOVE DEEPER INTO THIS STUDY. LET HIM OR HER CHECK OUT WHAT YOU ARE FINDING.
Look at the picture of Jesus Christ found in Hebrews 4:14-16.
Write down what each of these statements means to your life:
a. Jesus is the great high priest who has gone into heaven.
b. Jesus is able to understand and relate to our weaknesses since he was tempted in every way like us.
c. Because of Jesus, we can approach God’s throne [a throne of Grace] with confidence.
How does this understanding of Jesus Christ affect you right now at school, on the job, in the home? Write down the way it changes your attitude.
There may be some things that will happen to you to make you wonder if God is for you or against you. Read Romans 8:31-39 to see the kind of God you worship.
Go back to verse 28 for still another promise.
Paul lists in the first passage a number of things that might seem to cut us off from the love of God. What are some things in your life that are difficult or threatening? Write out verse 37 just as Paul says it and then write verse 38 substituting the things in your life that might interfere with your relationship to God.
What role do you play in keeping this victory?
SUBMIT TO EVERY AUTHORITY
This week you will study one of the keys to the Christian life. It is totally opposed to worldly wisdom, but it is something we see perfectly in Jesus and he wants to see it in us. It is the principle of submission.
Already you have studied passages that tell you who really has all the authority today. It is Jesus Christ, but God has set up certain orders in society. These maintain order and teach us to be submissive and obedient in spirit so we can ultimately and basically submit to and obey Jesus Christ.
To follow Jesus Christ one must have an obedient spirit. One must be willing to submit to another’s authority. Read 1 Peter 1:2 and 1 Peter 1:14. What kind of children does God want?
Read Ephesians 2:1-2 to determine what kind of spirit God is opposed to.
Look at Hebrews 5:7-9 for an important statement about Jesus Christ who is our example in all attitudes. What did he learn? How was it learned? What does God want us to learn? How will it be learned?
Return to 1 Peter where yesterday we learned that God wants obedient children. Now look at 2:11-17.
Our old self with its sinful desires as described in vs. 11, does not want to obey. It wants to do things ‘my own way’. It doesn’t like to be told what to do. That’s why Jesus says ‘deny yourself’. It is not willing to cooperate with God’s plan.
Notice in vs. 13 why you submit to every authority.
List all the authorities that you can think of that are in your life, meaning all the people that are in some role where they can tell you what to do or strongly expect you to do what they ask. What is your attitude toward these authorities?
The question is often asked, ‘Do I have to submit to these authorities in my life even when they are wrong?’. What do you think the mind of Christ would say here.
Continue the passage you started yesterday. Read 1 Peter 2:18-23. What does it contribute to the question raised above?
What we are being told here in Ephesians 5-6 and Colossians 3 is that we should have a submissive and obedient attitude all the time. We should be ready to obey those God has put over us. However, there
will come times when we cannot obey. See Acts 4:18-20 for a clear example. Study this carefully.
In the body of Christ, God has placed certain men over you. First there are the elders or overseers in the body and then those who have been given special authority by elders. Look at what Hebrews 13:17 says about your responsibility to these men.
Does this passage say we have to agree with everything a leader does before we can submit to him?
Make sure your relationships with all your leaders are good ones. If there is an anger or resentment or hurt in you toward any one of them, don’t put off sitting down with that leader and opening up your heart. If you see others in the body developing rebellious and disobedient attitudes go to them and encourage them to deal with that and to get with the leader.
Go to Ephesians 5:21 and start reading and go through chapter 6:4. Regardless of who you are, you are most likely in some kind of family relationship. In these relationships you can show the love of God … the kind of love that is willing to lay down its life for others in the family.
If your spouse, parents, or children have not been seeing in you the things described in Ephesians 5 & 6, then confess to them your sin.
Remember, your ultimate concern is that your family members come to know the living God through your life in a deeper and deeper way.
Turn to and read Romans 13.
List as many clear teachings in this passage as you can find.
Is there anything wrong with a bitter, complaining attitude about the government one lives under?
Again, when must a Christian say ‘no’ to the government? In what way should he say ‘no’?
One of the great texts in the New Testament is Philippians 2:1-11. Read this carefully, looking for the deeper teaching about the power of submission.
In what ways can you ’empty yourself’? The word literally means ‘made himself to be nothing’.
In what ways, being specific, can you this week take the form of a servant to your brothers and to those who are lost?
What happens to those who submit? What does God do?
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
You are over a month into your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you have been serious about it, this month should have been one in which you have faced many things about yourself that need changing. It also should have been one filled with joy because you know that God is for you and Jesus Christ is with you to help you become like him.
Look at Paul’s words about joy in Philippians 4:4-6. How often does it say we should ‘rejoice’? Compare this with 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. When should we rejoice? Be thankful?
The image of a soldier or a warrior is often employed in the New Testament. The reason is: we are at war. The ways of God and the ways of men are totally opposed to each other. Our culture is constantly bombarding us with its message of how to find life, but God’s message is totally different. One cannot survive in warfare unless he is equipped and knows how to do battle. For the rest of this week we will look at this matter.
Start with Ephesians 6:10-18. There is enough here for several days of study, and we will take a little time.
First of all in warfare, we need to clearly identify the enemy. Verses 10 & 11 make that identification very clear to us. Who is the enemy? What are some of the schemes that you can see him working out in your life to take you out of God’s love?
Please realize now and always that your boss is not the enemy, your parents aren’t the enemies, your husband or wife are not the enemy. Flesh and blood people are not the enemies, and any time we identify them as enemies, we fall into Satan’s scheme and begin shooting at the wrong person. List some times recently when you may have done this or come close to doing this.
Set your mind against the real forces of darkness that Satan commands. Pray for strength and for God’s mighty power to overcome it.
Read Ephesians 6:10-18 again.
Satan’s power is described in real terms and you will be so vulnerable to it if you are not aware of his power. However, why do we not need to be afraid?
We don’t have to be afraid, but we do have to put on the full armor of God. Without protection and the spiritual weapons he supplies we will not overcome. Let us look at them one at a time:
A. the ‘belt of truth’- where do you find the truth? John 17:17
B. the ‘breastplate of righteousness’ – read Philippians 3:8-9
C. the ‘gospel of peace’ – read Ephesians 2:14-18
D. the ‘shield of faith’ – how does it put out the fiery darts of Satan?
E. the ‘helmet of salvation’ – read Romans 8:1-2
F. the ‘sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God’ – Hebrews 4:12
G. and ‘pray in the Spirit’ on all occasions – how has your prayer life developed? What does this mean?
You now know what the armor of God looks like, but please realize that like any good soldier, you will have to put the armor on anew every day. You will have to be taught how the Spirit uses you with the armor on … be listening!
Begin today with 2 Timothy 2:1-7.
Focus in especially on vs. 3 & 4. To be a Christian is not like going to a picnic. It is enrolling in an army. If you really belong to Jesus you are going to face hardships. 2 Timothy 3:12 says we are promised what?
What did Jesus promise here in, John 15:18-21? What does Jesus say about the Christians who are well liked by the world? Read Luke 6:26.
Returning to 2 Timothy 2:4 we see that the warfare is going to be so serious and so intense that the Christian soldier must not get involved in ‘civilian affairs’. There are a lot of things to do in the world that are not wrong. But they are wrong for us if they take us away from the front lines and doing what Jesus wants us to do at that time. Are there some things in your life that need to be given up because they are ‘involvement in civilian affairs’?
Your study guide ends today, but may your study and love for God never end. You are on your way to things too glorious and enriching to even describe. Never, never, never, never, give up!
Read carefully the call of these passages: 1 Peter 2:1-12, Hebrews 5:11-6:3, Colossians 2:6-10
In relation to the above passages give your final thoughts.
Based on Study Guide from:
SOUND DOCTRINE BBS (303) 680-7209
Edited by Computers for Christ – Chicago