PART 2 ASPIRING TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
PART 2 ASPIRING TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
BEING A WITNESS OF FOUNDATION TEACHINGS
What else should we be a witness of? We should be a witness of attending continually to the teachings of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. What should we look for that will bring about God’s blessings on the assembly? What I mean by this is what should we look for that will provide teachings that God will approve of and desire to be an active participant in the lives of each member of the assembly of believers by means of the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
When attending a church, we should be looking for the declaration of foundational teachings. What are foundational teachings? These are instructions upon which the Christian faith stands. In other words, each of these teachings is paramount to the Christian faith. If any one of them is not true, then the faith that our faith rests have no credibility. Everything that the Christian faith stands for and proclaims in its teachings has to have holding it up is absolute truths.
What are the truths that are considered paramount? Well, here they are.
- There is one God who expresses Himself in three persons, each of whom is co-infinite and co-equal while having the same divine essence (divine attributes; divine characteristics).
- Each of the members of the trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) always existed.
- One of them, God the Son, was determined beforehand to leave heaven and come to the earth in order to be the substitute for all mankind, paying the debt owed for sin to God the Father to satisfy His justice.
- Jesus came to the earth being conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, listened to and obeyed the directives of God the Father, died on a cross paying the penalty for sin and providing forgiveness, rose again after three days never to die again, witnessed of such to others on the earth for 40 days in his glorified body after His resurrection, and ascended into heaven being seated at the right hand of the Father.
- Repentance and belief in Jesus Christ as to who He is and what He has accomplished is the basis for an unbeliever receiving the indwelling Spirit. In other words, salvation is non-meritorious.
- Jesus is not only a teacher, prophet, the Son of God, but God incarnate (God come in the flesh).
- There is no belief in any other person that will cause an unbeliever to go to heaven.
My question for you is this. Do you hear these foundational truths being taught from the pulpit? Some of you might have thought yes, but after contemplating what was just presented, realize that this is not really the case. You might be thinking; I don’t know what you mean. Let me give you some examples of what I am getting at.
- Belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is the basis for the salvation of an unbeliever. What is salvation? Salvation is the message that will cause someone to truly find God by receiving the indwelling Spirit along with a bundle of other benefits, some of which are a new nature and eternal life.
I’m sure that you thought that this is the foundational doctrine for salvation. Unfortunately, it is not. Salvation is procured by repenting of one’s sins to God the Father and believing in His Son Jesus Christ.
- Being baptized in water is the basis for salvation, providing the unbeliever with the forgiveness of sins and receiving the Holy Spirit.
Water baptism is not a foundational doctrine. All sin for every person in the world was forgiven at the cross. Water baptism is symbolic of a believer’s identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. Salvation is by repentance and belief.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
As we can deduce, there appear to be two ways for an unbeliever to receive the indwelling Spirit. One is by repenting and believing, being non-meritorious. The other is by water baptism and the Holy Spirit, being meritorious, something earned. What is the answer? If only one of these perspectives is correct, then the answer is in how the word water is taken, i.e., either literally or figuratively. The answer is obvious. The word water is to be taken figuratively (something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else4) as reaffirming that salvation is non-meritorious.
And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Just to further clarify why the word water is to be taken figuratively, take a look at the following example. If it was to be taken meritoriously, it would be comparable to something else that was considered as the basis for salvation that was also meritorious. Do you have any idea of what this was?
This is found in Acts 15:1. There were certain men, Jewish Christians who came down from the hilly and high region of Judea to Antioch proclaiming that in order for a Gentile to be saved, they had to first be circumcised. It was determined by the apostles and elders at the church of Jerusalem that the Christian Gentiles were not saved by this rite. Furthermore, they were under no obligation to keep any of the rituals and ceremonies of the Mosaic Law for sanctification.
I consider salvation a major doctrine of the faith. If it is believed that salvation can be obtained by a particular action or belief in a different person other than Christ, then we are putting our trust in something or someone else that has no part in the atonement for our sins. I’ll ask you again, are the foundational truths that were presented earlier in this chapter being taught from the pulpit you are listening to? If they are, God will approve of them and will be desirous to be an active participant in your life and the lives of each member of the assembly.
Your witness to the confirmation of these foundational teachings will allow you to be a presenter and confirmation of them to fellow believers and provide the biblical salvation teaching (the gospel) to unbelievers so that they might receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional benefits.
The next thing that we will take a look at will assist us in being a witness for Christ. This has to do with taking a look at what is called the Agape Feast and what should constitute it.
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