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Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Grace:Bringing Life to your Family

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on June 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm

 Christian_Light

 

 

(Philippians 4:5-8 HCSB)  Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.

 Bringing the impact of grace to those we love the most is probably the most difficult gift we can provide to our family because of our daily interaction and familiarity. We tend to get into routines and the pressure of everyday living seems to consume us. I know in my own life I have to remind myself to put aside the other issues and focus on the person in front of me. The verse from Philippians is direct and straightforward:

 Let your graciousness be known to _______________.

 Don’t worry about ___________________________________

but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

“Grace is an underserved gift!” (Richard Blackaby) It lifts the soul, gives life, builds up, it is the fertile ground of peace. Ideally the words home and grace should go together like blooms and flowers. Unfortunately for many the most painful and tragic memories occurred at home. Families attack and wound each other because they don’t understand grace much less how to apply it.

Maybe this is the time for a prayer of understanding and transformation during the rest of this study.

                         Home = Grace                                  Home≠ Grace

How would you describe your home or the one you’re planning on?

Giving grace to Parents, or other family:

(Exodus 20:12 HCSB)  Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

 (Ephesians 6:1-3 HCSB)  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right.  Honor your father and mother–which is the first commandment with a promise–that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.

 According to Exodus what is the clear command?

 According to Ephesians what is unique about this command?

 The first resistance to this is always the extreme “What if my parents aren’t honorable?” What if they hurt or betray me? The hard answer is the Bible wasn’t specific on what kind of parents deserve honor it just states we are to honor. I would caution not to confuse empathy with sympathy or guilt with obligation. I was blessed with parents that were easy to honor and a loving caring household. Not all grew up with that advantage and if the divorce rates keep spiraling out of control not many will have that opportunity in the future. I am not attempting to minimize the pain and suffering people have endured at the hands of dysfunctional parents. I also know that to truly be a grace giver we can’t pick and choose who we give it too. As I understand who we are in Christ and see me as God see’s me through Jesus I realize the enormousness and magnitude of God’s grace towards me. Maybe I can see those who hurt me through the eyes of grace and forgiveness. For those who have suffered the extreme of abuse and pain God has a plan for forgiveness and he will reveal how we express His grace through his Holy Spirit.

 (Colossians 3:12-13 HCSB)  Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive.

 How has God forgiven us?

 How are we to forgive others regardless of what they have said or done?

 Forgiveness is not dependant on the offender but on the offended and our willingness to let God’s grace transform us. Showing grace doesn’t mean we’re blind to another’s shortcomings. Some parents have committed horrendous sins against their children, and grace doesn’t condone or minimize the resulting pain. But grace searches out those things that are good, those things that bring hope. A family that lives by grace can be a powerful tool in the hands of God. Keep in mind that grace isn’t grace if it is deserved

 (Ephesians 2:7 HCSB)  so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

 (Romans 12:3 HCSB)  For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.

 (2 Corinthians 1:12 HCSB)  For our boast is this: the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with God-given sincerity and purity, not by fleshly wisdom but by God’s grace.

 (2 Thessalonians 2:16 HCSB)  May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace,

 The following statements correspond with the scriptures listed above, match them up.

 Grace doesn’t act as the world things is wise, but holy and sincerely.  

 Grace gives encouragement and hope.

 Grace has a sensible, sober attitude about self.

 Grace is expressed through kindness.

 Marriage/Relational Grace

 Why is the divorce rate among Christian couples comparable to that of nonbelievers?

 I think it’s because we can’t admit we really don’t understand grace in a practical daily application to those we are closet too. We are often to ready to use exceptions and extraneous circumstances too justify our own self fulfillment instead of self denial. We have churches filled with graceless relationships using words of death and harboring Unforgiveness.

Grace doesn’t insist on being right = it seeks to make things right.

Grace doesn’t demand to be heard = it seeks to listen and understand.

Grace doesn’t claim its rights=it voluntarily lays them aside.

Grace doesn’t look for wrongs= it seeks out what is right.

Grace builds up your spouse, strengthens your marriage, and helps you both to become more Christ like. A home cannot be filled with grace and void of joy: that’s impossible!

 (Philippians 2:3-4 HCSB)  Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 Focus on your words life giving or death words?

Where is your focus positive and what could be or negative and what is?

Have regularly demonstrated grace through forgiveness?

 God intends and requires our homes to be a refuge and storehouse for grace. The unconditional love and acceptance taught in the Bible should be a regular experience in our families. Anger never produces grace; love always does. Selfishness and good relationships don’t mix especially in parents towards children. At time we have let our self-centeredness overcome our better training and judgment and we really blow it! I know I have and that requires a willingness to apologize. Then commit to prayer the behavior that caused the pain for God to change me more into his image.

 God as our example of grace can be seen when he took the initiative to communicate with us his willingness to forgive us the rebellion of our sin through the death of His son Jesus. If we were left to own devices we would be forever aliened from Him. He saw our weaker condition and in His grace He met us at our level to demonstrate his love for us. Grace doesn’t selfishly pursue only our interests or likes. Grace looks for what is really important; a meaningful relationship with parents, spouse, children and those who God has put in our lives and entrusted to our care.

 (Colossians 1:19-22 HCSB)  For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross–whether things on earth or things in heaven. And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him—

 While we were alienated and hostile in mind he was reconciling us: that is grace expressed for all eternity. Our role in this is to accept and let Him be Lord of all if not then He is not Lord at all!

 “What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind!” Ravi Zacharius

 “The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” (Autobiography. Collected Works Vol. 16, p. 212)

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Grace Killers vs. Grace Givers

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on June 18, 2009 at 3:53 am

Sticks and stones will hurt my bones but words will never … this is probably one of the top lies we ever have learned and claim when we are hurt the most. Well meaning and well intentioned people can hurt us deeply never realizing the impact of their words. I know I am guilty of speaking directly and bluntly without realizing sometimes too late that I have just wounded someone I care about. Then there are the malicious types who intentionally prey on our vulnerabilities and sensitivities with the intent to inflect hurt on us. Either way the result is the same the walking wounded hurting and battered desperately seeking some word of grace that will refresh their souls. Every day we are surrounded by people, who need to be built up, they have been deceived, life has confused them and we have the ability to refresh them. Maybe we need refreshing ourselves and having someone who speaks words of life to us provides that experience of grace we yearn for. But it can’t stop there we have an awesome incredible opportunity to share God’s grace; through us God will give them hope, and refresh their souls. Expressing love through gracious speaking can be one of the most powerful gifts we share with everyone. Love has never been a noun but a verb, an action we live out in our behavior and speech. Our words we use are a direct reflection of our heart and relationship with God. Let’s look to the scriptures and see what God instructs us concerning our words good and bad:

 (Eph 4:29 HCSB)  No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.

 (Eph 4:29 LITV)  Let not any filthy word go out of your mouth, but if any is good to building up in respect to the need, that it may give grace to the ones hearing.

 (Eph 4:29 KJV)  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

 Looking at each word in this scripture and break down it’s meaning:

 Let– Every word I say is a choice I make.

 (Mat 12:33-37HCSB)  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil. I tell you that on the Day of Judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 No– Is there any excuse acceptable to God for unwholesome words coming out of my mouth? God makes no allowance for His people to speak unkindly toward anyone.

 Corrupt– This word means “rotten, unwholesome, and putrid.” You know the type of language. Corrupt words leave you feeling defiled and disgusted. They suck the life out of you. They have no place in a Christian’s vocabulary. 

 Word– Words hold power. With a word God created the universe. With a word Jesus raised the dead. With a word hopeless people are encouraged. Just as hopes are dashed with the wrong words and people are wounded. James says-

 (Jas 3:8 HCSB)  but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

 Proceed– Spoken words are directional they flow towards others, washing them in kindness or drowning them in mire.

 Out of our mouth– These are words concern us- the ones coming out of our mouth. If we are worried more about our words and less about what others say, imagine the impact on our relationships.

 (Psa 141:3 HCSB)  LORD, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.

 But– We don’t have to accept that our words will inevitably or accidentally hurt others. There is an alternative.

 Good– Good words are like fresh air to a weary soul. They bring life to the heart and energize the spirit.

 (Pro 12:18 HCSB)  There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

 Necessary– Everyone needs to be built up and encouraged. Life has a way of knocking us down and sapping our strength. Words of grace are not a luxury but a necessity.

 Edification– This word implies a building up, strengthening, or making better. Words can do much good and hurt so deeply healing or hurting, Grace Killers or Grace Givers.

 So far we have covered the types of words, and its cautions concerning gossip, criticism, and other inappropriate language. But the responsibility we were given is explicitly stated and a tremendous opportunity to be Grace Givers!

 That it may– By implication an action has been done as it speaks in a past tense and it is inferring to the words we speak.

 Minister– Webster says. Properly, a chief servant; hence, an agent appointed to transact or manage business under the authority of another; in which sense, it is a word of very extensive application. A delegate; an ambassador; the representative of a sovereign at a foreign court; usually such as is resident at a foreign court, but not restricted to such, a messenger of God.

Grace unto the hearers– We studied grace in the last lessen but to be a minister of grace and have the ability and power to, give life, to refresh the souls of  others and be an agent of God’s grace. What an incredible, awesome, and frightening thought. Everyday we are surrounded by people who need a word of grace and we are glib, busy overlooking, and ignoring one of the greatest powers of Heaven charged to us! 

 I had to really ask myself: How have I used this awesome power and responded to this incredible responsibility? Sadly to my own disgrace not so good. God’s word has plenty to say regarding this part of our lives. The words we use dramatically affect the quality of the relationships we enjoy.

 Have you ever been blessed with a friend whose words were gifts to your soul?

  1. When you’re in a crisis who do you want to call you?
  2. How often would those who know us say our words are gifts to their souls?

 The word says:

 (Pro 15:1 HCSB)  A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.

 (Pro 15:2 HCSB)  The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.

 (Pro 15:4 HCSB)  The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit.

 (Pro 18:21 HCSB)  Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 (Pro 25:11 HCSB)  A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray.

 (Pro 25:15b HCSB) … and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

 (Ecc 10:12 HCSB)  The words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him.

 (Col 4:6 HCSB)  Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

 (Gal 6:2 HCSB)  Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

 (Php 2:3-4 HCSB)  Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 Grace Killers vs. Grace Givers based on the word we see our responsibility and opportunity. God bless and keep you, may his peace infect you, and his blessings surround you.

Grace Expressing God’s Heart, God Riches at Christ’s Expense

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer on June 11, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Grace Expressing God’s Heart

God Riches at Christ’s Expense

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(1Pe 5:10,12)  Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little….I have written briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Take your stand in it!

 Have you ever asked yourself why God would create man with the capacity to choose sin knowing he would do so?

 Does it seem strange to you that God, knowing all things, foresaw the day when His beloved children would rebel against Him and forfeit their paradise?

 If God had not allowed man to choose sin He would not have had the opportunity to display His incredible attribute of grace. Have you heard people define grace by what it isn’t? Way to go grace, they sure weren’t very gracious; it seems ethereal and undefined except when we violate the caricature of it. Musicians use the term “grace note” to describe a softly played note that gets a melodist from one note in a chord to another – even if that note isn’t right! Credit cards offer “grace periods” between the time their billing periods end and they demand you pay a minimum amount in return. Then the ignorance of grace by people who heard about in Church but really fully understood it or how it’s supposed to affect our lives. If we miss out God transforming power through the gift of grace, we suffer, others suffer, and the kingdom suffers through damaged relationships, and worse destroyed lives.

 First a view from Heaven: Do you ever try to visualize heaven?

 Men and women were designed to enjoy personal fellowship with Holy God, enjoying his love for eternity. We see a picture of that friendship with Adam and Eve before the fall, everything was provided for, and God would walk and talk with them in true fellowship. We’ve never had it so good since. Then a horrific tragedy occurred with all creation and worst of all mankind. God’s friend and creation man rebelled against him we have literately and spiritually died from it.

 (Rom 5:12-20)  Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to one’s account when there is no law.

Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a prototype of the Coming One. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. And the gift is not like the one man’s sin, because from one sin came the judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from many trespasses came the gift, resulting in justification. Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

 Yet our Creator’s response to this drastically set Him apart form his creatures, He sent his only Son to pay the enormous debt for our pride and selfishness.

(Rom 5:8)  But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

God took the most heinous and despicable act ever perpetrated against Him, and transformed it into His greatest gift.

(2Co 5:21)  He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

To quote Richard Blackaby: “Grace recognizes people’s sin, anger, rebellion, and foolishness but looks beyond all these to see what people can become.” At our worst and darkest moment, God’s grace shone brightest. I order to be Grace givers we need to really clarify what grace is and what it is not.

Grace (Webester’s)

GRACE, n. [L. gratia, which is formed on the Celtic; Eng. agree, congruous, and ready. The primary sense of gratus, is free, ready, quick, willing, prompt, from advancing.]

1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.

2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

And if by grace, then it is no more of works. Rom 11.

3. Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.

Grace is not being “tolerant” in today’s definition nor is it being a door mat to the people who oppress us. Some people assume grace refuses to confront sin or say hard things. Some mistakenly see grace as one time event not the transforming work throughout our lives. As we can see from the definitions above grace has several complete meanings. Because as believers we face the struggle with sin until the day we see Jesus face to face, we need God’s grace every day of our lives. We know we are saved by grace and we kept by grace as well.

(Eph 2:8-10)  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

God continually supplies grace to his people in countless practical ways. More importantly he expects to be grace-givers. We see the English meaning of grace what did it mean in the time of the Apostles. In Greek it had 3 meanings as well: 1. a thing that brought pleasure, 2. to describe a person in powerful position showing mercy or favor to someone of inferior rank, 3. to denote gratitude. Grace appears nearly 150 times in the New Testament, showing grace’s rich and multifaceted nature.

(2Co 9:8)  And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.

Grace is what motivates God to relate to us moment by moment day by day with perfect love. If God didn’t see us with eyes of grace we would have NO HOPE! Because of this grace we can boldly approach even the throne of God in every situation, what a wonderful and reassuring promise.

(Heb 4:16)  Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

The stories of Martin Luther the Great Reformer and Paul the writer of 2/3 of the New Testament we see the transforming nature of grace in their personal encounters with Jesus.

First Martin Luther the Great Reformer planed on being a lawyer but a narrow escape from death in 1505 changed the course of human history. He went the priesthood and became quite a scholar, he also battled with justification and grace, so much so that he would spend hours confessing sins, even at one point abusing his body to keep the flesh in subjection. He was haunted by Romans 1:17,

(Rom 1:17)  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

He knew he wasn’t just and tried to earn God’s favor and escape his wrath on the unjust. There are no amounts of works we can do that will earn God’s righteousness. Finally after the Holy Spirit opened his understanding to the truth of this verse it forever changed how we worship God. It isn’t the righteous who have faith; rather those who place their faith in Christ’s saving work on the cross who are made righteous. WE can’t earn something that has already been provided all we can do is accept it.  Thus was born the reformation, and millions of people found freedom in Christ. The message is simple Salvation is a gift from a gracious God. Every promise God has made is waiting to be received if we freely accept His grace by faith.

 (Rom 3:23-24)  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

 (Rom 11:6)  Now if by grace, then it is not by works; otherwise grace ceases to be grace.

 Let’s quickly look at Paul, who began life as Saul the Pharisee of Pharisees who kept the law better than anyone of us and had zeal for serving what he thought was God’s will. He had no tolerance for those who disagreed with him or weak in their religious duty.

 (Gal 1:14)  and I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.

 What happened? God encountered Saul on the Damascus road grace found him and changed him so much it changed his name to Paul. He didn’t just change his outward behavior but his entire view of life was transformed he had experienced grace. The evidence is incontrovertible when we encounter grace we are transformed. If we have an encounter with grace we will be transformed if we haven’t been transformed then we lack the grace encounter. There is no amount of works we can perform, no amount of any religious behavior other than an encounter with the living  person Jesus Christ will we have a grace transformation. Then we can know the abundant life, joy, freedom and an eternal friendship with God.

 (1Co 15:9-10)  For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me.

 If you have trouble expressing this story in your own life here is a brief Q&A to help:

 What I was

  1. What I became
  2. The role grace played

 Can you make Paul’s testimony of grace your own?

For I am

  1. But by the grace of God I am

 Pray that you will not receive God’s grace in vain.

 We Christians can be deceived into thinking we cannot change the things about us that are ungodly, even though we have amazing promises from the Bible that God Himself can change us from the inside out. So-called Bible teachers prey upon weak believers, selling programs and performing “healings” that create emotional experiences but that ultimately fail to produce real change. To quote Richard Blackaby:

 “Grace looks beyond a person’s misguided attitude and sees the beautiful potential of a life freed from sin’s grasp.”

 In a personal story Richard tells of a Bible Study he was leading and made the statement, “If you are a person who gets angry, then you are an angry person.” Seems pretty straight forward but people really got upset, he held his ground in the explosion of comments. It matters not our circumstance upbringing, dysfunction, or struggles. God’s grace is still sufficient to set us free. He tells of a lengthy voice message from a lady in class, who said she was praying for his judgmental attitude and hard heartedness. But she sensed God saying to her “but you are an angry person” She was devastated asked for God’s transforming grace in her life and she was thoroughly transformed. Everyone saw a major change in her life. She had believed in her mind that God could deliver people from sin but her theology was far from the reality in her own life.

 (2Co 12:9)  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

 Paul dreaded receiving God’s grace in vain and abusing the gift that God has provided. Grace is not a license to sin but a provision for our failure as believers to keep us reconciled with God when we fall. To have all God’s kind intentions and loving resources freely available to him and then to squander his life in bondage to his sinful past would have been a travesty, disrespectful and unloving. He opened every area of his life to God and invited his transformation. Grace is not a concept, event or doctrine it is a continual reality to be experienced and shared. The sad reality is so many Christians missing his transformation and personal relationship living out God’s grace in vain. Richard Blackaby puts it this way “Becoming all God wants for us takes time and a lot of grace. Salvation does not mean automatic perfection.” God never gives up he knows what we can become. That’s why our sins and setbacks do not stop his outpouring of grace. He intends to perfect what he began.

 (Php 1:6)  I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

We see the evidence of grace listed in Hebrews chapter 11 in the hall of fame of faith. It was evident in the fall, the Old Testament patriarchs and with the New Testament apostles. The real hope is it is available for us right now today this very moment.  

 What’s the one thing about yourself that you think needs the most grace from God?

 When you are tempted to act ungraciously toward others, remember this weakness that you’ve considered in yourself. Ask God to help you be as gracious toward others as He has been toward you.

More on the issue of Belivers Baptism

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan on June 6, 2009 at 3:09 am

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Functional symbolism. Hewn in the form of a cross, out of a single stone shaped like a column drum, this baptismal font stood in the center of the baptistery in the central church at Herodium (Herod’s palace nine miles south of Jerusalem). It measures 3.6 feet wide and nearly 3 feet high. The baptistery, the place where baptisms were performed, usually occupied a small auxiliary room near the apse in Byzantine basilica churches.

                                                                                           

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This Byzantine era baptismal font is one of the best preserved in the Holy Land. Two steps lead down into the basin where the penitent would stand when the priest poured water over him ( the basin is not big enough for total immersion.)

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As pictured above from very early churches predating Roman Catholics as we know them and early Christian art we see evidence of pouring on of water for baptism. And instructions from the Didache ( The teaching of the Twelve) based from the Jerusalem Council somewhere around 50 to 70 AD.  Please bear in mind I agree with immersion and total immersion but that doesn’t exclude those who can’t or didn’t from the early church. I do accept the early church practices as more authentic due their proximity to the Apostle Fathers of the Anti-Nicene era. If they had been in error a forthcoming correction would have been recorded. See the copy of the Didache below:

6:1 See lest any man lead you astray from this way of righteousness, for he teacheth thee apart from God.
6:2 For if thou art able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou shalt be perfect;
6:3 but if thou art not able, do that which thou art able.
6:4 But concerning eating, bear that which thou art able;
6:5 yet abstain by all means from meat sacrificed to idols;
6:6 for it is the worship of dead gods.

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize.
7:2 Having first recited all these things, baptize {in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit} in living (running) water.
7:3 But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water;
7:4 and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm.
7:5 But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
7:6 But before the baptism let him that baptizeth and him that is baptized fast, and any others also who are able;
7:7 and thou shalt order him that is baptized to fast a day or two before.

8:1 And let not your fastings be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and the fifth day of the week;
8:2 but do ye keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation (the sixth) day.
8:3 Neither pray ye {as the hypocrites,} but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, {thus pray ye.
8:4 Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
8:5 Thy kingdom come;
8:6 Thy will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth;
8:7 give us this day our daily bread;
8:8 and forgive us our debt, as we also forgive our debtors;
8:9 and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one;}
8:10 for Thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever.
8:11 Three times in the day pray ye so.

Last but by no means any less important let’s look at the accepted laws of logic

  1. The Law of Identity: An object is identical to itself.
  2. The Law of Non-Contradiction: two contradictory statements cannot be true at the same time.
  3. The Law of the Excluded Middle: Just because two things have one thing in common does not mean they have everything in common.
  4. The Law of Rational Inferences: Inferences can be made from what is known to what is unknown.

Two theories of truth/methods of truth testing-

  1. Correspondence
  2. Coherence

Correspondence and coherence are incontrovertible methods of establishing truth in a court of law. Based on the other document I sent last week you see these methods being employed in explaining my understanding of the ordnance of baptism. In studying the Bible I have been thought to keep it in perspective of 1st –cultural truth, 2nd conscience truth, 3rd Scriptural truth. Meaning study the culture of the Bible in its context of history, try to understand the mind of the writer and how they saw things, always in light and view of scripture. The Bible is both a book of geography and history as well as God’s word. God is a God of empirical value. God has etched his reality in stones and history. He is never inconsistent or arbitrary. His correspondence is factually supported and is the foundation of truth. His coherence is of the highest order (factual consistency). I believe the understanding of Believers Baptism meets the test of credibility:

  1. The pragmatic basis: Does it really work?
  2. The experiential basis: Can I sense it in my experience internally?
  3. The cosmic or metaphysical basis: Does it fit the big picture?
  4. The historical basis: Did what it says really happen?
  5. The community basis: Does it provide relational support?
  6. Unaffirmability as a test for falsehood.
  7. Undeniability as a test for truth.

Thanks for indulging me this opportunity to express my deepest held beliefs, please note that my intention is always for the truth of the word and I stand on my belief. I always will be willing to be questioned and do my due diligence in relooking at my understanding of those things I hold too.

Your brother and friend in Christ,

Dan

Is there such a thing as Graceless Christians?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Uncategorized on June 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm

It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.

G. K. Chesterton

 

(Eph 2:3-8 HCSB)  We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also. But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is

God’s gift—

We start with a very pointed question, directed at supposed believers in Christ. By examining the missing pieces we can by filling in the missing parts find if we are missing the main ingredient GRACE.

What has God done for you? 1- Not much 10-More than can be described.

In looking at the rhetorical nature of this question we can see how much of the wonder of God’s grace is still evident on our lives. Are we behaving in a debilitating sense of self-entitlement, and self centered quest for personal happiness? That somehow we have moved from the rancidness of our sin to some sort of self entitlement that God exists for our pleasure as some sort of cosmic grandpa? Our generation especially in America may be one of the most self centered in history. I doubt we will be called the greatest generation like that of our grand-parents and the WW2 era. Have we become the paradox of graceless Christianity? Obviously the Bible speaks to this in several areas and stories.

(1Co 2:9-16 HCSB)  But as it is written: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him. Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For: who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Consider the behavior of believers that offer condemnation instead of love to those who are less “spiritual” than they are. When we try to justify ourselves horizontally instead of vertically we tend to elevate our status based on others around us. When we see ourselves vertically and in comparison to the demands of scripture we see our filthy sin filled lives and how much grace we need to survive another day. Have we known those or even ourselves drifted from a grace based faith to a behavior based faith! That somehow our behavior will earn God’s approval.  The only action that pleases God is faith.

(Hebrews 11:6 HCSB)  Now without faith it is impossible to please God,

I know right now there are some who want to apply some sort of standard of behavior to gain God’s acceptance because somehow if people’s behavior isn’t controlled then they will run headlong into paganism. Think for a moment when others don’t act like we think they should in areas of church life our tendency is to puff up and seek God’s will for others in error. The question that arises from this tends to be “Who made you Holy Ghost for me?” If God is who he claims then we probably need to spend 2 times more energy seeking His grace than seeking control of others behavior. We as believers can trust that God is in charge and has the means available to control anything that has his name associated with it. Remember we have enjoyed a generous outpouring of God’s grace, yet we can become stingy about sharing grace with others. He will reward the righteous and punish the guilty.

(Exodus 34:6-7 HCSB)  Then the LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh–Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.

We also see his plea for us to use His grace not to waste!

(2 Corinthians 6:1 HCSB)  Working together with Him, we also appeal to you: “Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.”

(2 Corinthians 6:1 CEV)  We work together with God, and we beg you to make good use of God’s kindness to you.

(2 Corinthians 6:1 LITV)  But working together, we also call on you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

(2 Corinthians 6:1 BBE)  We then, working together with God, make our request to you not to take the grace of God to no purpose.

2 Corinthians 6 (Amplified Bible)

1LABORING TOGETHER [as God’s fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that [a]merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them–do not receive it to no purpose].

Christ’s followers of all people have known mercy and grace firsthand yet we have characterized by judge-mentalism, and intolerance rather than mercy and compassion. As an example:

Two Christians refuse to forgive one another

  • Members angrily leave the church because the changed the format of the service
  • People complain they “got nothing out of the service” because the music wasn’t to their liking.
  • Church leaders are slandered by people who have been “overlooked” for prominent positions
  • The preacher is picking on them in his sermons

In Luke 7 we see the level of religious intolerance and judge-mentalism:

(Luke 7:36-50 HCSB)  Then one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him–she’s a sinner!” Jesus replied to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he said, “say it.”  “A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.” “You have judged correctly,” He told him. Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair.  You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  Those who were at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

As Henry Blackaby has stated in his book “Putting a Face on Grace”,

Principle 1: The more aware you are of your need for God’s grace, the more generous you will be towards others.

In the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee we see the outward working of religion and the inwards working of grace. We should also keep in mind the Pharisee’s were the kind of people most churches would be glad to have as members. They were very moral sounding, giving of their money, highly respected in their communities and attended church regularly. The versus listed below show a contrast in Christianity and Religion.

(Luke 18:9-14 HCSB)  He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people–greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me–a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus said the one who truly sees himself as a sinner before God and seeks His Mercy is the one who finds forgiveness. The one who thinks himself in no need of grace goes away unforgiven.

Principle 2: (Blackaby) A true understanding of your daily dependence on God’s mercy causes you to be humble toward God and others.

(1 Peter 5:5-6 HCSB)  , because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time,

As we see in the scripture Peter had some questions concerning forgiveness and quite possibly he was struggling with forgiving someone who had wronged him. Middle Eastern codes of honor dating back to the time of Christ and beyond demanded a just recompense for every offense committed. The Jewish religion specified a traditional number of times a person was to be forgiven-three times. Peter being who at the time wanted to gain Jesus’ favor and proposed a number as possible as seven times to forgive a person the same offense. Jesus had a different number and clearly different way of thinking he established not only for them but for us.

(Matthew 18:21-22 HCSB)  Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.

Then Jesus imminently gives us the parable of the slave who owed 10,000 talents to the master who forgave him. Then the servant chokes a man and puts him in prison for a few pennies worth of debt. As the story goes the King hears of this terrible behavior and punishes the unforgiving servant with torture until he paid his debt in full. Unwillingness to forgive led this man into bondage. Much like ourselves the more graceless and unforgiving we are the more we torture ourselves and those around us till we truly repent. We willingly put ourselves into bondage and have a religion that is not only graceless but useless.

Quoting Blackaby from his book Putting a Face on Grace “Our behavior clearly communicates our understanding of God’s grace in our lives.”

Principle 3: If you are truly grateful for God’s forgiveness, you will be quick to forgive others.

There is nothing anyone can do to me that can compare with what Christ has forgiven me for doing. As Matthew 6 says if we understand it correctly Forgive us in and how we forgive others!

(Matthew 6:14 HCSB)  “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.

(Matthew 6:14 CEV)  If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you.

(Matthew 6:14 BBE)  For if you let men have forgiveness for their sins, you will have forgiveness from your Father in heaven.

It has been said we are most like Christ when we forgive others who have hurt us deeply.

  • If we grasp the enormity of God’s extravagant grace toward us, we will gladly give generously to others
  • If we are truly broken and humbled by own sinfulness, we will not focus on the sins of others. Rather we will be motivated to humbly serve them.
  • We will forgive others- wither they deserve it or not-to show our gratitude to God. After all, that’s what he did for us.

“Being forgiven does not automatically free us from being self centered.” Think of all the name it claim it types, the doing good for God type, the earning God’s favor type, the keeping my salvation by doing good works tyranny and we see the contrast. God’s grace is given not earned we don’t deserve it but we can have it. That is amazing that God would give that to me a filthy, undeserving, worthless sinner. Who even if I could give him my best 5 minutes of my life for his gift would only insult him and bring disgrace to His Kingdom has sought me, bought me, sealed me, redeemed me, and given me far more than I could ever repay. Thank you Lord for giving me eternity with You!

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—

(Romans 10:8-13 HCSB)  On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, No one who believes on Him will be put to shame, for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

In closing may you: (2 Peter 3:18 HCSB)  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

What are Essential Doctrines

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on June 2, 2009 at 3:30 am

What are the Essential Doctrines?

 

Notes to Lesson

 

Familiarity breeds contempt

 

Piper- God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him!

 

Walter Lippmann- There can be no liberty for a community that lacks the means to detect lies-by construct

 

(John 8:32 HCSB)  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

What are the essential doctrines of the Christian faith? The core teachings of the Bible that have identified and defined Christianity for 2000 years are loosely assembled for review. Virtually all Christians who seek to have a faith that is biblically based hold to some form of these basic doctrines. Christianity may not always agree on they work out the details of their faith, but they should agree on the essential doctrines, these core truths.

 

We need to remember as we converse with other believers concerning differing beliefs this guiding principle.

 

In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty, and in all things charity (love)!

Quoted from Rupertus Meldenius (AD 1627)

 

They have to do with:

Who God is

Who Jesus Christ is

God’s love for people, and his desire to save them

 

Listed are 14 essential salvation doctrines that have to be true in order for anyone to know God and be saved:

God’s Unity

God’s Tri-unity

Human Depravity

Christ’s Virgin Birth

Christ’s Sinlessness

Christ’s Deity

Christ’s Humanity

The Necessity of God’s Grace

The Necessity of Faith

Christ’s Atoning Death

Christ’s Bodily Resurrection

Christ’s Bodily Ascension

Christ’s Intercession

Christ’s Second Coming

 

In addition, two more essentials define how we know about salvation:

 

Inspiration of Scripture

Method of Interpretation

 

We find in the creeds the essential doctrines, creeds are short summaries of what the Bible teaches. Especially in the early church before the bible existed creeds help to teach the faith. For example the Pauline creed as it is called.

 

In Romans Chapter 1: 1-7

 

  Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news

which He promised long ago through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh and was established as the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness. We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name, including yourselves who are also Jesus Christ’s by calling: To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Then we see one of the earliest creeds: The Apostles’ Creed that was one of the earliest statements of faith dating back to the early church around Anti-Nicene fathers. It was crafted to clarify basic beliefs. All 14 essential salvation doctrines are contained in it. Each one is clearly identified by the number in brackets. [9] = Essential doctrine # 9

I believe [9] in God [1], the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord [6]: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost [2],born of the virgin Mary [4,5], suffered [10] under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead [7], and  buried; (He descended into hell). The third day He arose again from the dead [11]; He ascended into heaven [12], and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father [13] Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead [14]. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic (universal) church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness [8]of sins [3]; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting [14].

Amen.

The Nicene Creed in addition to the 14 essential salvation doctrines, the Nicene Creed makes reference to Scripture as the basis for the creeds. Scripture is the method through which essential doctrines are revealed.

The Athanasian Creed emphasizes the deity of Christ and the Trinity. IN addition the Athanasian Creed was directed against many heresies such as Trithiesm (belief in three Gods), Monophysitism (belief in the “confusion” or  co-mingling of the two natures of Christ), Nestorianism (belief that two natures are independent or loosely united) Arianism (belief that Jesus is created and not divine)  Apollinarianism (belief that Jesus was partially human) Adoptionism (belief that Jesus was merely and man who was adopted into the Godhead as Son), and Universalism ( belief that everyone will be saved).

The Creed of Chalcedon stresses the Tri-unity (Triune) of the Godhead, the Virgin Birth of Christ, Jesus’ humanity and deity, as well as the eternality of the Son before time.

In the explanation of the essential doctrines we are going to look at the same basic question for doctrine.

The basic Doctrine by number is example

1. God’s Unity the doctrine

What do I actually need to believe?

What’s at Stake here?

 

 

1. GOD’s UNITY

There is only one God. He has always existed and will always exist. There is one—and only one—God, Creator of the universe.

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

“There is only one God.

What’s at Stake Here?

Knowing the only true God (John 17:3).

Hear 0 Israel.The Lord our God, The Lord is one!—Deuteronomy 6:4

I am the Lord your God…. You shall have no other before Me.—Exodus 20:2-3

Before me no god was, formed, nor will there he one after me. I, even I, am the Lord and apart from me there is no savior:—Isaiah 43:10-11

2. GOD’S TRI-UNITY

While there is only one God, he exists eternally in three Persons. In the Bible —

 

the Father is called God,

(2 Thessalonians 1:2)

the Son (.Jesus) is called God,

(John 1:1-5; John 10:30-33; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; Philippians 2:9-11)

the Holy Spirit is called God.

(Acts 5:3-4,2 Corinthians 3:17)

 

He is one substance but three Persons in relationship. There are more than 60 passages in the Bible that mention the three Persons together.

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

God is one essence, but three Persons.

 

What’s at Stake Here?

The unity and relational nature of God.

 

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit. Of God descending like a dove and lighting on .him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’.”—Matthew 3:16, 17

 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing theme in the name of the Father and of the Son and of ‘the Holy Spirit…..—Matthew 28:19

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of. the Holy Spirit be with you all. —2 Corinthians 13:14

3. HUMAN DEPRAVITY

Since God is a personal Being, he wants personal relationships with human beings. Human depravity means that every human is spiritually separated from God, totally incapable of saving himself. When Adam sinned, he died spiritually and his relationship with God was severed. Additionally, all of Adam’s descendants are “dead in trespasses” (Ephesians 2:1). Without a new birth (being created anew) no one can enter life (John 3:3).

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

We are sinful and cannot please God by own good works alone. We can never be “good enough.”

 

What’s at Stake Here?

When we try to deal with the problem of separation and death on own terms, we will fail, resulting in eternal separation from God.

 

(Rom 3:10-12 HCSB)  as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one.

 

 

4. CHRIST’S VIRGIN BIRTH

Jesus was born as a result of a miracle: Mary, Jesus’ mother, became pregnant

without ever having sexual relations. The doctrine of Jesus’ Virgin Birth is not primarily about Mary’s virginity and miraculous conception. ‘Though this miracle fulfilled a preordained 1rophecv (Isaiah 7:14), the reason it is essential has to do with God’s supernatural intervention. Our sin is not merely something we do—it is who we are. It is inborn. ) our depravity is transmitted to us from our parents (Psalm 51:5; 1 Corinthians.15:22; .Romans 5:12-15). Because God interrupted the natural birth process in the case of Jesus, Jesus did not inherit a sin nature. In other words, Jesus not only did not sin, he had no inclination to sin even when tempted. He was perfect.

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Jesus became a human being through a supernatural conception in Mary’s womb.

What’s at Stake Here?

God’s supernatural intervention in order to break the chain of sin.

(Mat 1:18-23 HCSB)  The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.”

 

 

5. Christ’s Sinlessness

Christ was born of a virgin, and he did not stiffer the effects of a sin nature.

Throughout his life Jesus remained sinless. Because of our sin, we could not have a relationship with God; but because Jesus did not sin lie was perfectly able to represent us stand in our place) before God.

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Jesus was perfect.

 

What’s at Stake Here?

The ability of Christ to represent us before God and thus provide salvation tor us.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us…. —2 Corinthians 5:21

For we. . . have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin.                                                            —Hebrews 4:15

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. -1 Peter 2:22

6. CHRIST’S DEITY

The only way for humans to be restored spiritually to God was for God to build a

bridge across the gap of separation. So God, while retaining his full God nature, became a perfect man in Christ in order to bridge the chasm. If lie is not both God and Man he cannot mediate between God and man (l Timothy 2:5). Jesus Christ is the second Person in the Trinity.

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Jesus Christ is, in essence, God. He is divine, not just a good teacher or a righteous man.

What’s at Stake Here?

 Jesus’ ability to save us.

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was Cod. -John 1:1

For in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form.    —Colossians 2:9

But about the Son he says, “Your throne, 0 God, will last for ever and ever.”            —Hebrews 1:8

7. CHRIST’S HUMANITY

Jesus was also fully human. Jesus got tired; lie slept; he sweated; lie got hungry and thirsty. Without being fully human, Jesus could not pay the price for human sin. He needed to be divine to have the power to save us, and he needed to he human in order to adequately represent us. Christ had to be both divine amid human.

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Jesus Christ was fully human, as well as fully divine.

What’s at Stake Here?

Confidence in Jesus’ ability to fully represent humankind in atonement.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.                                    John 1:14

 

Christ. Jesus…. taking the very nature of a servant, bean made in human likeness…. —Philippians 2:7,8

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of ‘death—that is, the devil….     —Hebrews 2:14

8. THE NECESSITY OF GOD’S GRACE

Because of human depravity; we cannot save ourselves. It is by God’s grace alone that salvation is possible. God is right to call humankind to account for sin. However, by his race, undeserving people will be united in fellowship with him and avoid judgment. \Without God’s grace, no one could come into relationship with God. Relationship with God is peace, joy, and eternal life itself (John 17:3).

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

God—and God alone—is able to rescue us.

 

What’s at Stake Here?

Our relationship to God, eternal life.

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from

yourselves, it is the gift of Cod—not by works, so that no one can boast.      —Ephesians 2:8,9

If a man remains in inc and I in him, he will hear much fruit; apart from me you can

do nothing.                                                                               —John 15:5

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, hut because of his mercy. —Titus 3:5-7

It does not, therefore, depend on mans desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.—Romans 9:16

9. THE NECESSITY OF FAITH

Faith is trusting that God can and will save us. No one can earn salvation. No amount of good works can ever repay the debt that is owed to God. However, by trusting in him and thankfully accepting his gift of salvation, we can be united with God. Faith is an act on our part, but it is not a work. Faith is trusting God to do what we could not do for ourselves (Ephesi.ans 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

That faith, not works, connects us to God.

 

What’s at Stake Here?

Whether we want to be judged by what we deserve or with God’s undeserved favor (grace).

And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. —Hebrews 11:6

However, to the man who does not work but trust’s God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.Romans 4:5

10. CHRIST’S ATONING DEATH

The penalty for sin is death—not only physical death (separation of the soul from the body), but also spiritual death (separation of ourselves from God). The penalty we owe to God was paid by Christ through his death on the cross. The acceptable payment had to be perfect, complete, and without fault. Christ, the perfect Man, gave Himself in our place, so that whoever believes in hire will not die (physically and spiritually) but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Only Christ’s sinless life, sacrificial death and bodily resurrection can bring us to God.

What’s at Stake Here?

The unique nature of Jesus’ work of salvation.

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

He himself bore our sins in h, is body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.

—1 Peter 2:24

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God

—1 Peter 3:18

No one comes to the Father except through me.                                   –john 14:6

 

11.Christ’s Bodily RESURRECTION

The atoning death of Christ paid for our sins, but the process was not complete until he had defeated death by being physically resurrected in the same body (John 2:19-21). Because Christ is the victor over death and the prototype of a new, glorified physical body, all of humanity will be resurrected and live forever in either heaven or hell.

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Jesus rose bodily from the grave.

 

What’s at Stake Here?

The proof that Jesus conquered death.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for

our justification.                                                                         —Romans 4:25

. . if you confess with your mouth, `Jesus is Lord, “and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.                                      —Romans 10:9

Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and hones, as you see I have.       —Luke 24:39

12.CHRIST’S BODILY ASCENSION

Christ died for our sins and was physically resurrected for our salvation. Then 40 days later, he was taken up (“ascended”) bodily into heaven. Because Christ has ascended to the Father, the Holy Spirit now guides us, shows us where we are wrong and comforts us when we hurt. Jesus’ going to the Father means our life is kept safe in heaven with God.

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Jesus ascended, body and soul, to God.

What’s at Stake Here?

‘Ihe Holy Spirit’s work in the life of the believer.

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor [Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.          john 16:7

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed therm. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. —Luke 24.50, 51

After he said this, 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.     —Acts 1:9-10

13. CHRIST’S INTERCESSION

Christ’s bodily ascension allowed him to serve as our mediator (or high priest) before God. In Cod’s presence, Christ prays continually on our behalf. Like a lawyer defends someone before a judge, so Jesus defends us before the bar of God’s law and against the accusations of Satan (Revelation 12:10).

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?

Christ represents our best interests before God.

What’s at Stake Here?

Assurance that my prayers are heard by God.

After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.                                     —Hebrews 1:3

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet without sin                                      —Hebrews 4:15

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. —Hebrews 7:25

But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.     —1 John 2:1

14. CHRIST’S SECOND COMING

 

Just as Christ left the world physically, so he will return in the same mariner. His second coming is the hope of the world. When he returns, dead believers will receive their resurrected bodies. Believers that are alive when he returns will not die, but will be transformed into immortal, physical bodies. Christ’s bodily return to earth will be visible to all, and believers will rule with him in his kingdom and live with him forever, “Those who do not believe will be separated from God’s goodness forever.

 

What Do I Actually Need to Believe?                                                                               

How Do We Know About Essential Doctrines?

Jesus is coming again soon, and we should be ready:

What’s at Stake Here?

Our hope of being together with Christ.

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Mani coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.                                    —Matthew 24:30

Behold, lam coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.                                                   —Revelation 22:12

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Colossians 3:3, 4

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.                                                —Luke 12:40

After Jesus returns, believers will enter conscious eternal blessing and unbelievers will go into conscious eternal punishment.

Eternal Li f e

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; fit were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if go and prepare a place for you I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.                         -John 14:1-3

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to fine. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as l am fully known. —1 Corinthians 13:12

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.     —Revelation 21:4

Eternal Separation

This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know Cod and do not obey the gospel of our lord, Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of’ the Lord and from the majesty of his power:      —2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne…. The dead were judged according to, what they had done…. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.          —Revelation 20:11-15

 

We know about the essential doctrines through the Bible; however, the inspiration

of Scripture as a doctrine is not necessary for salvation to be possible. People were saved before there was a Bible, and some people are saved without ever reading the Bible. The Bible is, however, the only divinely authoritative foundation that makes the plan of salvation knowable.

 

15. INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE

In order for us to have a sure foundation for what we believe, God revealed his Word (the Bible) as the basis of our beliefs. As Thomas Aquinas put it, “in order that salvation might the easier be brought to man and be more certain, it was necessary that men be instructed concerning divine matters through divine revelation, “which is the Bible (Summa’ Theologica 1.1.1). God cannot err (Hebrews 6:18) and neither can his Word (John 17:17). Without a divinely authoritative revelation from God, such as we have in the Scriptures, we could never be sure of the doctrines that are necessary for salvation.

 

16. METHOD OF INTERPRETATION

In addition, all the salvation doctrines are derived from the Bible by the literal method of interpretation—that is, Scripture is true, just as the author meant it. By applying the historical-grammatical method of interpretation to Scripture one can know which truths arc essential for salvation.

 

To Believe or Not to Believe?

Not all doctrines necessary for salvation arc necessary for a person to believe in order to be saved. There is a distinct difference between what must be true in order for us to he saved and what must be believed in order for us to he saved. For instance, nowhere does the Bible say it is necessary to believe in the Virgin Birth in order to get into heaven; nonetheless, the Virgin Birth assures us that God took an active role in breaking the bonds of sin through his Son, Jesus.

There are certain essential doctrines that one may not believe and still be saved (for example, the Virgin Birth, Ascension of Christ, the Second Coming), and there are certain things one must believe in order to be saved. A person must believe that Christ died for sins and rose again (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-6). One must “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31). Since the word “Lord” (kurios) when it refers to Christ in the New Testament means “deity,” one cannot deny the deity of Christ and be saved (Acts 2:21, 36; 3:14-16; 5:30-35; 10:39; 1 Corinthians 12:3).

            (Rom 10:9-11 HCSB)  if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, No one who believes on Him will be put to shame,

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