Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Basics

1 Timothy 3:16 
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.

Yesterday night at church this was part of the passage that we were exploring, and the preacher brought out eleven basic doctrines of christianity which are evident in this verse. We need to know and love the basics of the gospel, not getting too caught up in the side issues but remembering who God is, what he has done for us and how we hae been saved. It's so easy to find things to argue over which are not essential. It's good to argue and discuss. But it's better to be focussing on the essntials of our faith and to be telling others about them.

Here are the 11 doctrines which he brought out:

Jesus is God
The actual translation of the word "he" used here is "who". From the previous part of the passage it is clear that Paul is talking about God - God has been the focus of the last few verses. Therefore it is God who appeared in the flesh. Jesus is God. That is absolutely essential for a christian to believe. If you do not accept that Jesus is God then you ae not a Christian. Only God could pay the price so that we could be saved. Only God could become a man and remain perfect, only God could save us from his own just wrath.

The Trinity
God is Three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are all equally God, but they are all different persons with different roles. They are the same in Character.

When was Jesus vindicated (proved right and true) by the Holy Spirit? Two occasions. The first was his baptism when God spoke and the Holy Spirit descended on him. Jesus was baptised even though he was sinless, and he commands us to be baptised if we are Christians. Baptism doesn't save, but if we are Christians we should obey and be baptised.

Jesus' death and ressurection
The other time Jesus was proved true was at his ressurection. The death and ressurection of Jesus are the core elements of the gospel. If you don't believe that Jesus literally died and truly rose from the dead then you don't believe the same gospel and you're not a Christian. Without his death there is no payment for sin and without his ressurection we cannot know that we will be raised or that he truly paid for our sin in full.

The Holy Spirit dwells in Christians
We also know that the Holy Spirit was in Jesus and that Jesus sent him after he died to dwell in all believers. He (the Holy Spirit) helps us, grows us, teaches us, rebukes and convicts us. He helps us undestand God's woprd and tell others.

Gospel Proclamation
Jesus was preached/proclaimed to the nations. As Christians we need to share the gospel and tell people about God and all he has done for us through Jesus. We need to know the gospel and to tell it to others. We need to love the gospel and love God who saves. Matthew 28:18-20. The word "Angels" means messengers and could be applied to the apostles who saw him and preached to the nations. We need to do the same.

The Church
We need to proclaim the gospel to all peoples and those who turn to Christ are God's church. At salvation we are dopted as God's children and made co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8). Since all Christians are adopted as God's children, we are all God's family. That is what church is - it's God's family getting together to praise and worship him, to learn about him and to encourage, grow, challenge, rebuke, love and help one another. As Christians we need to go to church and be with God's people.

Saved by Grace, through faith and Sin and Judgement
What do we proclaim? We proclaim that all have sinned and deserve God's wrath, that God is just and we are sinful and therefore we deserve his righteous judgement. But we also proclaim that God sent Jesus to save us and that through him there is salvation. This salvation is not based on anything that we do, it is based entirelyu on Jesus' perfection and his sacrifice for us. We are saved by grace, not works, and we are saved when we put our faith in Jesus and repent of our sin. Ephesians 2:8-9

Heaven and Hell
Linked to the last two, we need to also proclaim that our response to the gospel has eternal ramifications. If we contnue in our sin then we will face God's wrath for eternity - hell. If we turn to Christ in repentance and faith then we will have eternal life and go to heaven to be wit God once we die. We need to believe this, they are everywhere in the bible and to deny them is to deny the truth of God's word and therefore his perfection.

The Second Coming
Jesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 1) and the Angels told the apostles that he will return. Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. Those who are his people will go to heaven with him for eternity. Those who reject him will be under his wrath for eternity. Therefore the question is: Have you responded to the gospel? Have you put your faith in Jesus and repented of your sins? Only he can save.

Some of those are directly in the passage, some came from exploring the words a bit deeper, but all are essential doctrines in the Christian faith.

Do you agree with them? Do you believe them and act on them?

If you want to hear the full sermon then here's our churches website:

...and here's the sermon:

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