Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BASICS OF CHRISTIANITY: The Bread and Water of the Disciples of Christ

My other blogs are:
The Bread and Water of the Disciples of Christ
BASICS (a Pre-list List):
1)      Accept you are a sinner, saved by Christ’s shed blood. Confess audibly Christ as your savior, and ask Him to come into your heart and forgive all sins to be saved. He will become your savior!
2)      You cannot earn grace, forgiveness, or even enter heaven without verbal confession of Christ as the Son of God and savior.
a.      Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

3)      Belief in Christ “bestows” grace, which begins the journey to knowing Christ
4)      Faith IS the journey of knowing Christ (strong belief that comes with action on those beliefs)
5)      Obedience to and fear of God is the beginning of learning to love Him
6)      Wanting heaven is wanting Christ: They are the same thing, for as earth was once heaven, now it is hell without Christ. What is heaven without Jesus? So heaven and Jesus are one in the same.

1)      Remember that GRACE atones for sin due to Christ’s death and resurrection (proof of deity, and shows sovereignty over death) and grace is a free gift bestowed and NOT EARNED.

a.      If you try to earn grace (like by doing good things to get into heaven, etc) then you will grieve God and impede the relationship. Think of it this way: Grace is literally the shed blood of Jesus to those who hated Him because He loved us…how can we earn it when we hate Him naturally? Those with faith in Christ are given in freely. All men hate God, but we learn to love Him. Do not be deceived, we hated God first. The love we return to Him is His own. We all learn to return love to God.

b.      God’s ultimate power is love and Satan’s ultimate power is death. Though death and misery has swept through the world (violence, sin, disease, death, etc), Jesus changed the entire world in less than 100 years just by loving us for 2 years while He was alive on the world. Do not be deceived, love is POWER. It is the power to have peace in God, to endure affliction (Satan) with joy, it heals and unites and more.

2)      Faith develops from belief because is greater than belief. Belief alone is simply a basic trust in something, but faith is the next step and involves strong belief and has a noticable “will” in its movements inside of your heart. Faith in something can stir powerful action, but belief lacks that. Faith is more like a strong belief tied to an indestructible hope in something. Belief alone is insufficient to produce the heart changes necessary to being a regenerated Christian (one who has submitted to God and is being healed and guided by Him. “regenerated” a spiritually loaded word).

3)      After faith comes obedience as a form of love
a.      1 John 5:3-5 “3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

----GRACE (Christ’s shed blood and resurrection) covers up sins, which is the only things that allows us to go to heaven at all

----Being a Christian isn’t so much about “not sinning,” but more so about learning to despise and hate sin. This happens quickly to those who pursue Christ with vigor because those who earnest seek God out in their hearts have “godly sorrow which leads to repentence” 2 Corinthians 7:10.

----“The road to hell is paved in good intentions.”  For the Catholics who read this, I must point this out: It is common Catholics belief that “doing good things” or “giving a lot” is a form of righteousness and even proves salvation of the person, but it’s actually more evil than good. Why? REASON: Goodness and doing good becomes a stumbling block to honest salvation *through Christ alone* since it works through yourself and not Jesus, but for those who practice “righteousness,” they follow God and do not do anything outside of His will, even good things.

For example, I am inherently selfish and rightly so, since I tend to lose everything I have from moving so much, yet I give charitably of all I have…Why? Because when I give I know it is not me giving but Christ who is "giving to my heart" enough to allow me to let go of things, and all I have was first given to me by Jesus anyway, and so none of what I have belongs to me. Jesus often blesses us hoping we will give it back in our heart to Him, since He always want us to want Him more than anything in the whole wide world. When I give it is because I feel in my heart that I must obey God. Do all things in Christ because you love God, but never because you feel you need to do it for righteousness sake. Christ is righteous, so do it for Christ only and it will be for the sake of righteousness anyway. God will reveal this distinction to you better than I can if you are confused.

Now ask yourself these questions:
1)      What is belief in contrast to faith? Dictionary forms of the two words can help
2)      When you have faith, what will happen?
a.      Look at the story of Abraham for faith and the story of Solomon (King David’s son) for a sadder tale of those who lose faith. Both are stark examples of perfect dependence on God and total independence (pride and the inevitable ruin by sin)

3)      So if Abraham was utterly dependent on God and was the only man in the whole world who was called the friend of God, how does this relate to you? (Since you said at Towson that you feel pride in your heart. Pride is basically a stubborn independence of self-will/autonomy from God’s will and reliance on self).

4)      Belief > Faith > Love God = Obey > Dependence on His will no matter how confusing (like Abraham in Genesis 22 with his son)

1) 1 John 4:10 “This is [Christ’s] love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

2) Fearing God produces repentance and love for God. We are broken, and sometimes we can only act in fear:
Philippians 2:12 “12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”

3) God acknowledges fear as a positive force to love God:
Genesis 22:12 (Abraham and son Isaac) “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

4) If God expects Abraham to give up his only son to God, which was the only thing Abraham ever wanted, how much more so does God expect us to give up to God our own lives, wants, and needs after Jesus walked the earth to die for us? Abraham didn’t have Jesus yet was expected to give up his greatest want! We owe God everything, and likewise Jesus expects this:
Galatians 5:24 “And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Luke 14:27 “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My  disciple.”

5)      When you come to love the Lord, you will feel in your heart a strong inability to continue your old lifestyle. And remember, pursuing your life is a lifestyle. You have gone to college and now you want a career to provide your needs, but be sure that you do not build a house of cards the Lord will be forced to tumble in order to save you from pride and self-fulfillment. But Matthew 6:24-35 Jesus promises all your needs, just trust Him.

 And remember, for those really hard questions regarding sin, salvation, repentance and giving up your life for God read this article on my blog