ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

May 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Outlines

 

 

 THE ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

  1. Prologue: Why is this issue important?
    1. Because God Says So!
    2. 1 Timothy 4:11, 13, 15-16!
    3. Also see Deuteronomy 6:1-9; 8:3; 11:18-21!
    4. “Do I have to believe?” Do I have to believe in the right–as Opposed to the
      wrong or false–Jesus or Gospel? Does it really matter?

      1. Yes! See, for example, Matthew 7:21-23; John 8:24.
      2. You believe in Jesus? “No Creed but Christ!” Which One (see, e.g., 2 Cor.
        11:3-4)?
      1. Just want to “love Jesus”?
        1. Which One?
    5. How can you if you don’t really know or even care who He is or what others think or say
      about Him?

      1. Example: Your Spouse, Boyfriend or Girlfriend….
      2. Would it matter? You bet!
    6. It is a false dilemma
      1. pitting a person vs. truths about them or in this instance doctrines. It is not
        either/or….
    7. You believe in the Gospel? Which One (see, e.g., Gal 1:6-9)?
    8. “Creed” is from the Latin verb credo: “I believe.” Thus,
      “no creed but Christ” is itself a creed!
    9. Sound doctrine is essential (1 Tim 4:11, 13, 16; 2 Tim 1:13-14; 2:1-2; 4:1-5; Titus 1:9;
      2:1)! It is not optional (unless you want to directly disobey God?)!
  2. The Foundation
    1. We need a standard!
      1. 1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Ephesians 2:19-22; 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5; Jude 3!
      2. We must have a standard, a measuring device, a rule or canon to measure and judge.
      3. For Example
        1. to Build a Building.
        2. To build on shaky ground is foolish (Matthew 7:26).
        3. One needs a standard or measuring method; otherwise, one will make a mess. It is the
          same with Christianity!
    2. The Standard is Scripture–The Canon (Rule)!
      1. See Matthew 5:17-18; 1Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 4:6, 11, 13, 15-16; 2
        Timothy 2:1-2!
  3. The Gospel
    1. The Euangelion
      1. It is the good news, the Gospel (Evangel), the message of salvation, eternal
        life, and all that it entails.
      2. John 3:16
    2. Levels of Doctrines
      1. There are at least two (Essentials and nonessentials: see 1 Cor. 15:3)
      2. –we believe four–levels of, or priority levels of doctrine within the Gospel (Christianity):
        Essentials, Cardinals, Tertiaries, and Peripherals.
    3. Five (Minimally) Essential Doctrines
      1. There are at least five Essential doctrines of the Gospel. To be an
        Essential doctrine or teaching, it must be explicitly (clearly) taught in a verse or
        passage of Scripture–and stated as such–and/or be entailed or inferred directly
        from a verse, verses, passage, or passages of Scripture alone. They are not simply
        the opinion or view of a given Christian denomination, pastor, teacher, theologian, etc.
      2. All five must be held or believed in order to be a Christian. Some include the Virgin
        Birth, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as Essentials as well. While we certainly
        believe in the Virgin Birth and  Christ’s Second Coming–they are both clearly taught
        in Scripture– we are not convinced from Scripture, the Bible God’s Word, alone that
        they are Essential doctrines. By “Essential” doctrines we mean that if a person
        denies one or more of them he or she is not saved (born-again).
      3. Essential doctrines are such that if one or more of them is not believed, then a person
        is not–cannot be–a Christian (i.e., born-again, go to heaven, or be saved)! The question
        to keep in mind is whether one can deny the teachings in question and still be saved?
      4. Nonessential doctrines (e.g., Cardinals, Tertiaries) are such, that while they are (or
        may be) clearly taught in Scripture, and should be believed by those who want to be
        faithful to Scripture, and there are serious consequences–in this life and the
        next–for not believing, teaching, and living our lives in light of these doctrines (see,
        e.g., Matt. 5:19), nonetheless, people who deny or are confused on them can be born-again,
        a Christian, go to heaven, saved…. They are saved despite their being confused or
        outright denial of these doctrines.
    4. Warning!Please do not misunderstand! While people who are confused on or deny nonessential
      doctrines can be saved, they themselves and those influenced by them (e.g., their
      families, friends, congregations, those they teach, and so forth) will suffer the effects
      or reap the onsequences, in this life and the next, for their false teachings.  
      Moreover, and most importantly, it is our view that they will have to give an account of
      their incorrect (false) teaching(s) to the LORD, and will suffer the loss of eternal
      rewards (see, e.g., Matt. 5:19; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; James 3:1)! No one dare add, change,
      distort, ignore, subtract, tamper, twist, or otherwise pervert God’s holy word! To do so
      is to one’s own peril (Deut. 4:2; 8:3; Prov. 30:5-6; Matt. 5:17-19; 2 Pet. 3:16; Rev.
      22:18-19)!
    5. Essential Doctrines:
      1. Salvation by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone
      2. Christ’s Vicarious Atonement (The Penal Substitutionary View)
      3. The Bodily Resurrection of Christ Jesus from the Dead
      4. The Unique Deity (and Humanity) of Jesus ChristChrist is fully divine and fully human. He has two complete natures.
      5. The TrinityWithin the nature of the one eternal God there are three persons (Gk. prosopon, L. persona):
        the Father, the Son, and the HolySpirit. They are coequal and coeternal. Moreover, they
        are of thesame substance or essence (i.e., their nature being divine), and share the same
        glory.
    6. Cardinal Doctrines (Examples of):
      1. The Inerrancy of Scripture
      2. The Second Coming of Christ
      3. The Virgin Birth of Christ
      4. The Church
      5. Sin
      6. The Material World
    7. Tertiaries–Third Level–Doctrines (Examples of):
      1. Church Government
      2. Eschatology
      3. Hell
    8. Peripheral Doctrines (Examples of)
      1. Pastoral Robes
      2. Sports Program
      3. Choirs
  4. The Essentials of the Gospel
    1. Salvation by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone
      1. John 6:28-29; Romans 1:17; 3:27-28; 4:1-6-12, 16, 23-25 [cf. Rom. 2:28-29; Gal.
        3:15-16]; 5:1-11; 6:23; 9:30-32; 11:6; Galatians 2:15-16, 21; 3:6-12; 23-29; 5:4;
        Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10; 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5; James 2:10-11; 1 John 3:23
      2. 1. Counter: James 2:14-22
      3. Counter-Counter: James 2:23 (Context!). James 2:21, 23–Genesis 15:6–22:1-19 (Some
        Thirty Years Later)–Romans 4:3; Rom. 4:1-11, 16, 23-25; Gal. 2:15-16, 3:6-12; 5:4
      4. Genesis 15:6 (in the LXX); Romans 4:3-11, 23-24; Galatians 3:6:
      5. The Greek verb logizomai, means to account, credit, reckon, impute.
      6. John Owens: “True Vs. False Faith”
      7. Martin Luther: “Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone.”
        Separate grace and works as far as heaven is from hell until one can distinguish the
        difference. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9-10!
      8. Grace/faith produces good works. But good works are not the cause or condition(s) of
        salvation, but the consequence(s).
      9. The Three Uses of The Law:
        1. Civil
        2. Pedagogical: Romans 3:19-20; 5:20; 7:7, 13; Galatians 3:19-25
        3. Sanctification: (Luther/Calvin)
        4. The Three Functions of the Law:
          1. Civil
          2. Ceremonial
          3. Moral
    2. The Vicarious Atonement (The Penal Substitutionary View)
      1. John 1:29, 36; 3:16; Acts 2:38; 16:31; Romans 3:22-26; 4:24-25; 2 Corinthians
        5:21; 1 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 9:26-28; 10:10, 12, 14; 1 John 2:2; 4:10
      2. Justification, Justified (Past Tense): External, Alien, Forensic, Declaratory, Given to
        You, Imputed
      3. vb. dikaioo; n., dikaiosis; adj., dikaios; adv., dikaios
      4. You are declared righteous by the Supreme Court of the universe: the Father, Son, and
        Holy Spirit
      5. We are not only declared not guilty, not just merely innocent, but  righteous!
      6. Positionally, God views us as if we had completely or perfectly obeyed Him–as Jesus
        did!
      7. Romans 5:1-2,*9,*11, 16, 18; Titus 3:7*: Aorist* (Past Tense) Passive Participle
      8. Luther: The Great Exchange (Phil. 3:9)!
    3. The Bodily Resurrection
      1. Luke 24:37-39; John 2:19-21; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 12-19, 32; Philippians
        3:20-21; 1 John 4:2 (Perfect Participle); 2 John 7
      2. (Present Participle) Romans 10:9
    4. The Deity of Christ
      1. John 1:1; 5:18; 23; 8:24 (cf. Ex. 3:14); 8:58; 20:28; Romans 9:5-6; 10:9
        “Jesus is LORD (Gk. kyrios)”; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9; Titus
        2:13; 2 Peter 2:1-2
      2. Note: 1 John 2:21-23; 4:15; 5:10-12
      3. Note: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
      4. Point: one must believe in the right Jesus!
        1. See Matthew 7:21-23; John 8:24; Galatians 1:7-9; 1 John 2:21-23; 4:15; 5:1, 5, 9-13; 2
          John 9
    5. The Trinity
      1. Isaiah 48:16-17; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14
      2. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all called God: the Father  (Eph. 1:3); the
        Son (John 20:28); the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4)
      3. There is only one God (Deut. 6:4; Mk. 12:29-30).
      4. Therefore, the three: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one true God.
      5. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (1 Th. 1:10; John 2:19-21;
        Rom. 8:11; 1 Pet. 3:18).
      6. God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24, 32; 4:10; 17:30-31).
        1. Therefore, the three are the one God.
      7. While the Holy Spirit glorifies the Father and the Son, and bears witness to the Son’s
        claims, the Holy Spirit is nonetheless not confused about their, nor his own identity!
      8. It brings no glory or honor to God (the Father and the Son) if the Holy Spirit messes up
        their identity.

        1. For example, what if you or someone else misrepresents or misconceives the
          identity of your family members? Would that be honoring to them? No!
      9. The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17; 1 John 4:6).
      10. The Holy Spirit is the believer’s teacher of truth (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:12-15; 1 John
        2:20, 26-27).
      11. The Holy Spirit indwells believers (Rom. 5:5; 8:9, 14-16; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 1:13-14; 1
        John 4:13).
      12. The Holy Spirit guides believers (all people for that matter) into truth–only
        truth–never falsehood (see 5).
      13. How can a genuine believer, who is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, cling to false
        doctrine? It is an oxymoron.

        1. This is like those that say they are Christians, but live in sin
        2. (Titus 1:16; 1 John 3:6-10).
        3. This is like those who claim to be Christians and claim they have not sinned or never
          sin now (1 John 1:8, 10).
        4. This is like the person who claims to be saved but does not obey Jesus (1 John 2:3-6).
        5. This is like the person who claims to be saved but hates people (1 John 2:9-11; 3:11;
          14-15; 4:20-21).
        6. This is like it being light and dark, or wet and dry, etc., in the  same sense, at
          the same time, and at the same place.
        7. Impossible! These situations do not exist.
      14. So it is with those who claim to be saved yet deny the deity of the Father, the Son, or
        the Holy Spirit!
  5. The Gospel
    1. Implications
      1. If anyone denies one or more of the previous five truths, we are talking about
        who is not a Christian (or born-again or saved).
      2. These truths are the Essentials–the heart and soul (essence) of the Gospel itself!
      3. Augustine’s Maximum: “In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things
        charity.”
    2. The Gospel entails right belief–orthodoxy–or content.
      1. See J.I. Packer’s article, “Faith,” in Elwell’s  Evangelical
        Dictionary of Theology
        .
      2. There are people who are sincere, but sincerely wrong (Prov. 14:12).
      3. For Example, the Illustration of Taking Medicine to Save One’s Life
      4. That Is Not in Fact Helpful
      5. Even though the person sincerely believed…they died!
    3. Confusion Versus Straight-Out-Denial or Denunciation
      1. A Sincere Believer Versus a William Branham
      2. The Theology 101 test at the Pearly Gates Story
      3. Quality Vs. Quantity: a Five Year Old Vs. a Ninety-Five Year Old Spiritual
        “Einstein”
      4. It is nonetheless the same Faith.
      5. Parent Illustration: Your Child’s Knowledge of You Vs. Your spouse, Peers, Employee(s),
        Employer, Etc.
  6. Heresy, Heretic, Heretical
    1. Heresy (Gk. Hairesis)
      1. Hairesis is a choice or opinion contrary to and in spite of the truth,
        which leads to false teaching(s), divisions, ruin.
      2. Heretic, Heretical (Gk. Hairetikos)
      3. Hairetikos: a heretic, heretical. There are two types:
      4. One type of heretic is a person who denies one or more of the Essentials. This type is a
        non-Christian (see, e.g., 2 Pet 2:1).
      5. The second type is a person who confuses and/or denies one or more Cardinal and/or
        Tertiary doctrines.
      6. This type is heterodox (as opposed to orthodox), but still a Christian (see, e.g., Gal.
        5:20).
    2. Either Way or Type of Heresy or Heretic
      1. The biblical counsel is the same: Romans 16:17; 1 Timothy 1:3-4, 7; Titus 1:10;
        3:10.
  7. Know What You Believe and Why!
    1. The Stakes
      1. The stakes are this life and eternity for you and everyone else:
        1. everyone you have known, know, or will know, have seen, see, or will  see
          (1 Tim. 3:16)!
      2. John 10:10 or…?
      3. Do you care? Think/pray about it (James 2:22-25)! Timothy 4:16; 2 Peter 3:18; Jude 3!

Revision Date: 9/5/99

Copyright ©1999 Craig S. Hawkins. All Rights Reserved.