Friday, July 18

All Hands on deck.......

"A wise man has great power and a man of knowledge increases strength" Proverbs 24:5 (NIV)

In today's cultural climate, where tolerance is rewritten as 'self-realization' and the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been mined, distorted, and rearranged into a 'prosperity' mindset, where the God of all creation is nothing more than an eternal bell-hop who serves us at our behest, it is more important than ever that Christians who have been born-again be ever on their guard against doctrinal shift where scriptures are misquoted, misinterpreted, and misused for the disillusionment of the faithful; young babies on up to mature adults.....spiritually.

Knowing your theology and doctrine is important, a definitive worldview is a sign of maturity, and the hard-line of the absolute foundational truths is vital. But even more intensely important to the future of those who have gained the saving grace of Salvation is the ability to teach and mentor:

It isn't just the Pastor's job to do so.

Those we speak the Gospel to become our charges in their spiritual growth. We cannot just pass them off upon the leadership of the church we attend, but must actively engage them in conversation, dialogue, and growth building doctrinal theologies. Not only teaching why we believe what we do, but teaching them how to define, establish, and defend their own theological world-view.

"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

The Bible is the only source of such foundational truths. Absolute authorities, standing beyond the ability of man to shape, mold, and distort to mean something they want to hear. When the scriptures are referenced in a theology, it is immediately clear whether the doctrinal stance is biblical or not. It is inerrant in its authority for reproof, truth, and the practice and life modeling for Christians, based on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

"This God does not want us to translate and theologize Him into [a formula] to just insure our own self-preservation," Rick Blinson, founder and Director of KneePrints Prayer Ministries, Inc wrote in his article Contentment: The Antithesis of Prosperity Teaching.

The first foundational brick is God. God is all; powerful, holy, righteous, good, love, just, and worthy of all praise and honor because of His infinite perfection and His involvement with His creation, humanity, in all aspects of such life: spiritually, physically, and permanently. He is Three in One; the Triune God. All Divine and separate individuals in One. The Father, who is agape love; The Son, physically fully-God, fully Man, who came to pay the price for sin for us all; The Spirit, counselor and guide who resides within the heart of the born-again to provide knowledge and wisdom to live a godly and fruitful life for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Romans 1:20-21: "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

Second foundational brick is Adam's original sin. All of us, Christian and unsaved alike, have fallen under the punishment of sin, due to the introduction of sin into our nature by Adam's silence and subsequent 'approval' of sin's actions. We are, as a being, unable to fulfill any pleasure, demand for blessing, resurrect truth or even approach the True God because of our sin, borne from Adam's commission. We are left without hope of obtaining life ourselves, undeserving of blessing, blinded to Truth, and bound for death—spiritually and physically, and it is only through the substitutionary death AND bodily resurrection that we can be reborn into a state of grace. This doesn't remove the sinful nature in our life, but gives us the gifting of the Holy Spirit through which we defeat our sinful nature through godly wisdom, counsel, and practice. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Third foundational brick is Jesus Christ. . “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Believing in His death and resurrection, for which God the Father sent Him to earth on behalf of man, which fulfilled the penalty for sin, we are enabled through our belief of the Good News to come under forgiveness of all sin. This enables the born-again believer to be declared righteous by God, entering into a life-giving and affirming relationship with our Heavenly Father and a restoration of the hope lost that we will know eternal life. …believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved……And it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Fourth brick in the foundation upon which we are called to build our life and our relationship pursuit of God is the ultimate Return of the Savior, who after He resurrected from the dead was ascended into Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father. The hope we have isn't solely based upon this return, for Christ left His peace with us when He ascended, but is part of our eternal outlook and is thought of with anticipation because our Savior told us we will not know the hour or day. We are called with such uncertainty to live a life accordingly holy, reflective of this knowledge. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Fifth foundational brick, upon which all our theology should be built, is the unity of the body of Christ, regardless of denominational creed of born-again believers, that calls us to fellowship, worship, and edify each other in the struggles of this broken world. Christ is our head and we each have parts within the body to fill, in accordance with God's design and plan for His church. Because of such, we hold each other accountable for proclaiming God's truth, to press each other towards a growing, mature life of our faith through praising our God, scriptural teaching, relational edification, and representative expression of faith, hope, and love through the Great Commission, which calls us to proclaim the Good News and make disciples.

"If the main goal of the repentant sinner should be total, light-bearing and blessed communion with God, then the main hindrance to this is the existence of the passions still active and working in him the virtues being as yet unsealed in him and the unrighteousness of his powers. Therefore his main work upon conversion and repentance should be the uprooting of passions and sealing the virtues in a word, correcting himself." St. Theophan the Recluse.

If we build upon these foundational bricks, keeping true to the principles that are the rock and support of our faith, we will not stray from the path that God has set before us. We, living separate in a sinful, broken world, strive for a perfection that cannot be achieved through our own means, but through the continued counsel, discernment, and guidance of the Holy Spirit through the living Word of God and those anointed to teach. We are to hold our christian leaders and brethren to account for being accountable to the teachings they offer and the theology they teach, for in the end days, many false teachers and doctrines will plaque the Holy Church and lead some faithful astray.

"But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, so your thoughts should be corrupted from the simplicity due to Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3 MKJV

Keep it simple stupid, the KISS principle, is the primary function of the foundation. Salvation isn't complex in its simplicity. It is simple in its complexity. There is no formula, no work, no claim to monetary or health that enables us to create this foundation.

It may look like a biblical foundation, sound like a biblical foundation, but it will crumble like the resistance of the enemy when Christ comes again to reclaim His own. If upon the Rock we build, there is nothing; no principalities, no demons, or no fight fought that can remove us from God's truth.

We will struggle, daily taking our cross to follow our Savior. We will stumble and may fall, but our brethren and our God stand ready to bring us back to grace and mercy. We live without fear, for our God has us in His powerful hands:

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB

We are called to stand according to biblical principles, realizing that we are promised to success no matter how many times we fail, because God never does. We are promised the continued and blessed presence of our God.

"No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." Joshua 1:5 NASB

This is what we need to teach those who flail in the winds of cultural doctrines, and secular universalism. This is what we need to build within our young Christians to enable them peace and comfort in the times ahead.

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