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THE ESSENTIALS OF CHRISTIAN Faith – 30th
August 2017
"Forin Christall the fullnessofthe Deity livesin bodilyform," (Colossians2:9).
The Bible itself revealswhatisimportantandessential tothe Christianfaith.Theseessentialsare the
deityof Christ,salvationbyGod’sgrace and not byworks,salvationthroughJesusChristalone,the
resurrectionof Christ,the Gospel,monotheismandthe HolyTrinity.These are the main“essentials”
that we shouldunderstandandbelieveif we are followersof JesusChrist.Let’slookatall of these ina
little more detail.
The Deity of Christ:It isconsideredan essentialdoctrine andisacentral non-negotiable beliefwithin
Christianity.Alsoknownasthe "divinityof Christ,"this doctrine assertsthatJesusChristwasandis the
Son of God incarnate.Asthe apostle Paul stated, "ForinChristall the fullnessofthe Deity livesin bodily
form," (Colossians2:9).Withthisthe Christianmeaningof the term"deityof Christ"isfairlyclear.The
Christianbelievesthatthere isapersonal God,Creator andRulerof the universe,aGodwhois infinite,
eternal andunchangeable.Sowhenthe ChristiansaysthatJesusChristisGod,or whenhe says that he
believesinthe "deityof Christ,"he meansthatthatsame personwhoisknownto historyasJesusof
Nazarethexisted,beforeHe became man,fromall eternityasinfinite,eternalandunchangeableGod,
the secondpersonof the holyTrinity." J.GreshamMachen, What isthe Deityof Christ? Quite simply,
JesusisGod. While Jesusneverdirectlysays,“IamGod” inthe Scriptures,He makesitveryclearto
those aroundHim,especiallythe PhariseesandSadducees,thatHe isGod. We can learnfrom John
10:30, “I andthe Father are one.” Jesuswasclaimingdeity,and,interestinglyenough,He didnotdeny
that He wasGod. There are manyotherexamplesone canfindinthe ScripturesregardingJesus’rightful
place inheaven.
SalvationbyGrace: If youwere to die todayand standbefore Godand He asked,‘WhyshouldI letyou
intoMy heaven?’whatwouldyousay?”The questiongetstothe heartof,“What are youtrustinginfor
eternal life?”Assuch,there isnomore importantquestioninthe worldtobe crystal clear on!If you
place yourhope of eternal life insomething,onlytofindwhenyoustandbefore Godthatitwill notget
youintoheaven,you’re doomed!There are no trainingexamsafteronesdeathandwhenfacing the
judgmentseat! Thereforeyou’dbettergetitrightbefore youdie! Firstlywe know that we are all sinners
separatedfromGod anddeservingof eternal punishmentforoursin.
Jesus’deathonthe cross paidfor the sinsof mankind,givingusaccessto heavenandan eternal
relationshipwithGod.Goddidnot have to dothisfor us, butHe lovesusso muchthat He sacrificedHis
onlySon.Thisis grace,and it ismostdefinitelyundeservedfavor.Scripture tellsus, “Foritisby grace
you have been saved,through faith—andthisnotfromyourselves,it is the gift of Godnot by works,so
that no one can boast” (Ephesians2:8-9).There is nothingwe can doto earn God’sfavoror gainaccess
to heavenapartfrom one’sFaithinJesusChristas onessaviour. Godby hisgrace has providedawayfor
sinto be forgiven,hell avoidedandheavengained.Thatwayisfaithin hisSon,JesusChristassaid in
Romans6:23, “Forthe wagesof sinis death, but the giftof Godis eternal lifein ChristJesus our Lord.”
Salvation,accordingtothe Bible,issolelybygrace andfaith,notby humaneffortorworks as stated
above inEphesians2:8-9. While notdenyingthe value of goodworks,throughoutourhistory Christians
have proclaimedthe truththatsalvationisonlybygrace throughfaith.
Salvationthrough JesusChrist alone:A trulyprovocative questiontoasksomeone might be “Doall
roads leadtoGod?” The truthis that all roads doleadto God. Eventually,we are all goingtostand
before Godwhenwe die,nomatterwhat faithwe are.It isthere that we will be judgedforwhatwe
have or have not done while we were alive andwhetherJesusChristisLordof our lives.Forthe majority
of people,thiswill be aterrible occasion,asmostwill notknow Himor be knownbyHim.For these
people,hell will be the final destination.ButGodin Hismercy hasprovidedall of usthe onlymeansfor
salvationthroughHisSon,JesusChrist. Acts4:12, “Salvationisfoundinno one else, for there isno
other name under heaven givento mankindby which we must be saved.” Thispassage speaksof the
name of JesusandHissavingpower.Anotherexample isfoundinthe bookof John.Jesusanswered, “I
am the way and the truth and the life.No one comes to the Father except throughme” (John14:6). No
one getsintoheavenexceptbyfaithinthe savingworkof the Lord JesusChriston hisor herbehalf.
The Resurrection of Christ: Perhapsnoothereventinthe Bible,aside fromJesus’appearance here on
earthand subsequentdeathonthe cross,isas significanttothe Christianfaithasthatof the
resurrection.Whyisthiseventsignificant?The answerliesinthe factthatJesusdiedandthenafter
three dayscame back to life androse againto reappeartoHis followersinbodilyform.Jesushad
alreadydemonstratedHisabilitytoresurrectotherssuchasHis friendLazarus and otherreported
incidences. ButnowGodthe Fatherhad resurrectedHimtodisplayHisawesome powerandglory.This
amazingfact iswhat separatesthe Christianfaithfromall others.The ChristianfaithisbasedonChrist
crucifiedandresurrectedtolife. “AndifChristhasnotbeen raised,then our preachingis invain and
your faithis invain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Lastly,to denyChrist’sbodilyresurrectionistodenythat
Jesus’workhere onearthwas a offeringtoGod forthe sinsof mankind.
The Gospel: We can learnfromwhere Paul spellsoutwhatthe gospel isandhow importantitisto
embrace itand share it withothers as saidin 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Now,brothers andsisters, I want to
remind youof the gospel I preached to you,which youreceived andon whichyou have taken your
stand.2
By thisgospel you are saved, ifyou holdfirmlyto the word I preached to you. Otherwise,you
have believedin vain. 3
For what I received I passedon to you as offirst importance:that Christdied
for our sinsaccordingto the Scriptures, 4
that he was buried,that he was raised onthe thirdday
accordingto the Scriptures.” This isthe essence of the gospel.Paul alsowarnsusto be wary of the
many“false gospels”thatare beingoffered tothe unsuspecting:“Buteven ifwe or an angel from
heaven shouldpreachto youa gospel contraryto the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As
we have said before,so now I say again:If anyoneis preachingto you a gospel contrary to the one
you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).The pure gospel of JesusChrist—Hisdeathonthe
cross for sinnersandHisresurrectiontoeverlastinglife—iscentral tothe Christianfaith.
Monotheism:Quite simply,thereisonlyone God. We have learnedfrom Exodus20:3 , “Youshall have
no other godsbefore me.” Monotheismisthe beliefthatthere isonlyone Godto be worshippedand
served. We can alsolearnfrom Isaiah43:10, “‘Youare my witnesses,’declares the LORD, ‘andmy
servant whomI have chosen,that you mayknow and believeme andunderstandthat I amhe. Before
me no god wasformed, nor shall there be anyafter me.’” Here we see that we are to “believe”and
“understand”thatGod livesandisone.A Christianwill know thatthere is onlyone God,the Godof the
Bible.We can understandwhenwe read 1 Corinthians8:5-6,“For even if there are so-calledgods,
whether in heaven or on earth (as indeedthere are many “gods” andmany“lords”), 6
yetfor usthere
is but one God,the Father, fromwhom all thingscame and for whomwe live;and there isbut one
Lord, Jesus Christ,throughwhom all thingscame andthrough whomwe live.”
The HolyTrinity: While the conceptof a “three-in-one God”isnotrepresentedbyasingle verse or
passage,itisdescribedfrequentlythroughoutScripture.If we lookat Matthew 28:19, “Gotherefore
and make disciplesofall nations,baptizingthemin the name ofthe Father andof the Son and ofthe
Holy Spirit.” We see the verse callingoutthe Trinity – the Father,the Son andthe Holyspirit. While this
verse mentionsall three Personsof the triune God,itdoesnotcall themthe Trinity.Soto understand
the doctrine of the Holy Trinity,we mustlookatthe “totality”of Scripture andgleanfromit the
definition. We canlearnhow thisthree comestogetherin1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “Nowthere are
varieties ofgifts,but the sameSpirit; andthere are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there
are varieties of activities,butit is the same Godwho empowers them all in everyone.” Again,we see
all three Personsbeingrepresentedbutnottitledthe HolyTrinity.
Finally,the essentialsof Christianitywouldnotbe completewithoutthe ingredientthatbindseverything
together—FAITH.“Nowfaithisthe assuranceof thingshopedfor, the convictionofthingsnot seen”
(Hebrews 11:1). As Christianswe live bythisverse withthe understandingthatwe believeinaGod we
cannot see.Butwe see Hiswork inour livesandall aroundus inHiscreation.We doall of thisthrough
faithbecause we knowthat whenhe or she has faithinGods provision,He rewordsthose whoseek
Him:“And withoutfaithit is impossibletopleasehim, forwhoever woulddraw near to Godmust
believe that he exists andthat he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

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30th August 2017 - The essentials of Christian Faith

  • 1. THE ESSENTIALS OF CHRISTIAN Faith – 30th August 2017 "Forin Christall the fullnessofthe Deity livesin bodilyform," (Colossians2:9). The Bible itself revealswhatisimportantandessential tothe Christianfaith.Theseessentialsare the deityof Christ,salvationbyGod’sgrace and not byworks,salvationthroughJesusChristalone,the resurrectionof Christ,the Gospel,monotheismandthe HolyTrinity.These are the main“essentials” that we shouldunderstandandbelieveif we are followersof JesusChrist.Let’slookatall of these ina little more detail. The Deity of Christ:It isconsideredan essentialdoctrine andisacentral non-negotiable beliefwithin Christianity.Alsoknownasthe "divinityof Christ,"this doctrine assertsthatJesusChristwasandis the Son of God incarnate.Asthe apostle Paul stated, "ForinChristall the fullnessofthe Deity livesin bodily form," (Colossians2:9).Withthisthe Christianmeaningof the term"deityof Christ"isfairlyclear.The Christianbelievesthatthere isapersonal God,Creator andRulerof the universe,aGodwhois infinite, eternal andunchangeable.Sowhenthe ChristiansaysthatJesusChristisGod,or whenhe says that he believesinthe "deityof Christ,"he meansthatthatsame personwhoisknownto historyasJesusof Nazarethexisted,beforeHe became man,fromall eternityasinfinite,eternalandunchangeableGod, the secondpersonof the holyTrinity." J.GreshamMachen, What isthe Deityof Christ? Quite simply, JesusisGod. While Jesusneverdirectlysays,“IamGod” inthe Scriptures,He makesitveryclearto those aroundHim,especiallythe PhariseesandSadducees,thatHe isGod. We can learnfrom John 10:30, “I andthe Father are one.” Jesuswasclaimingdeity,and,interestinglyenough,He didnotdeny that He wasGod. There are manyotherexamplesone canfindinthe ScripturesregardingJesus’rightful place inheaven. SalvationbyGrace: If youwere to die todayand standbefore Godand He asked,‘WhyshouldI letyou intoMy heaven?’whatwouldyousay?”The questiongetstothe heartof,“What are youtrustinginfor eternal life?”Assuch,there isnomore importantquestioninthe worldtobe crystal clear on!If you place yourhope of eternal life insomething,onlytofindwhenyoustandbefore Godthatitwill notget youintoheaven,you’re doomed!There are no trainingexamsafteronesdeathandwhenfacing the judgmentseat! Thereforeyou’dbettergetitrightbefore youdie! Firstlywe know that we are all sinners separatedfromGod anddeservingof eternal punishmentforoursin. Jesus’deathonthe cross paidfor the sinsof mankind,givingusaccessto heavenandan eternal relationshipwithGod.Goddidnot have to dothisfor us, butHe lovesusso muchthat He sacrificedHis onlySon.Thisis grace,and it ismostdefinitelyundeservedfavor.Scripture tellsus, “Foritisby grace you have been saved,through faith—andthisnotfromyourselves,it is the gift of Godnot by works,so that no one can boast” (Ephesians2:8-9).There is nothingwe can doto earn God’sfavoror gainaccess to heavenapartfrom one’sFaithinJesusChristas onessaviour. Godby hisgrace has providedawayfor sinto be forgiven,hell avoidedandheavengained.Thatwayisfaithin hisSon,JesusChristassaid in Romans6:23, “Forthe wagesof sinis death, but the giftof Godis eternal lifein ChristJesus our Lord.” Salvation,accordingtothe Bible,issolelybygrace andfaith,notby humaneffortorworks as stated above inEphesians2:8-9. While notdenyingthe value of goodworks,throughoutourhistory Christians have proclaimedthe truththatsalvationisonlybygrace throughfaith.
  • 2. Salvationthrough JesusChrist alone:A trulyprovocative questiontoasksomeone might be “Doall roads leadtoGod?” The truthis that all roads doleadto God. Eventually,we are all goingtostand before Godwhenwe die,nomatterwhat faithwe are.It isthere that we will be judgedforwhatwe have or have not done while we were alive andwhetherJesusChristisLordof our lives.Forthe majority of people,thiswill be aterrible occasion,asmostwill notknow Himor be knownbyHim.For these people,hell will be the final destination.ButGodin Hismercy hasprovidedall of usthe onlymeansfor salvationthroughHisSon,JesusChrist. Acts4:12, “Salvationisfoundinno one else, for there isno other name under heaven givento mankindby which we must be saved.” Thispassage speaksof the name of JesusandHissavingpower.Anotherexample isfoundinthe bookof John.Jesusanswered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.No one comes to the Father except throughme” (John14:6). No one getsintoheavenexceptbyfaithinthe savingworkof the Lord JesusChriston hisor herbehalf. The Resurrection of Christ: Perhapsnoothereventinthe Bible,aside fromJesus’appearance here on earthand subsequentdeathonthe cross,isas significanttothe Christianfaithasthatof the resurrection.Whyisthiseventsignificant?The answerliesinthe factthatJesusdiedandthenafter three dayscame back to life androse againto reappeartoHis followersinbodilyform.Jesushad alreadydemonstratedHisabilitytoresurrectotherssuchasHis friendLazarus and otherreported incidences. ButnowGodthe Fatherhad resurrectedHimtodisplayHisawesome powerandglory.This amazingfact iswhat separatesthe Christianfaithfromall others.The ChristianfaithisbasedonChrist crucifiedandresurrectedtolife. “AndifChristhasnotbeen raised,then our preachingis invain and your faithis invain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Lastly,to denyChrist’sbodilyresurrectionistodenythat Jesus’workhere onearthwas a offeringtoGod forthe sinsof mankind. The Gospel: We can learnfromwhere Paul spellsoutwhatthe gospel isandhow importantitisto embrace itand share it withothers as saidin 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Now,brothers andsisters, I want to remind youof the gospel I preached to you,which youreceived andon whichyou have taken your stand.2 By thisgospel you are saved, ifyou holdfirmlyto the word I preached to you. Otherwise,you have believedin vain. 3 For what I received I passedon to you as offirst importance:that Christdied for our sinsaccordingto the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried,that he was raised onthe thirdday accordingto the Scriptures.” This isthe essence of the gospel.Paul alsowarnsusto be wary of the many“false gospels”thatare beingoffered tothe unsuspecting:“Buteven ifwe or an angel from heaven shouldpreachto youa gospel contraryto the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before,so now I say again:If anyoneis preachingto you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).The pure gospel of JesusChrist—Hisdeathonthe cross for sinnersandHisresurrectiontoeverlastinglife—iscentral tothe Christianfaith. Monotheism:Quite simply,thereisonlyone God. We have learnedfrom Exodus20:3 , “Youshall have no other godsbefore me.” Monotheismisthe beliefthatthere isonlyone Godto be worshippedand served. We can alsolearnfrom Isaiah43:10, “‘Youare my witnesses,’declares the LORD, ‘andmy servant whomI have chosen,that you mayknow and believeme andunderstandthat I amhe. Before me no god wasformed, nor shall there be anyafter me.’” Here we see that we are to “believe”and “understand”thatGod livesandisone.A Christianwill know thatthere is onlyone God,the Godof the Bible.We can understandwhenwe read 1 Corinthians8:5-6,“For even if there are so-calledgods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeedthere are many “gods” andmany“lords”), 6 yetfor usthere is but one God,the Father, fromwhom all thingscame and for whomwe live;and there isbut one Lord, Jesus Christ,throughwhom all thingscame andthrough whomwe live.”
  • 3. The HolyTrinity: While the conceptof a “three-in-one God”isnotrepresentedbyasingle verse or passage,itisdescribedfrequentlythroughoutScripture.If we lookat Matthew 28:19, “Gotherefore and make disciplesofall nations,baptizingthemin the name ofthe Father andof the Son and ofthe Holy Spirit.” We see the verse callingoutthe Trinity – the Father,the Son andthe Holyspirit. While this verse mentionsall three Personsof the triune God,itdoesnotcall themthe Trinity.Soto understand the doctrine of the Holy Trinity,we mustlookatthe “totality”of Scripture andgleanfromit the definition. We canlearnhow thisthree comestogetherin1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “Nowthere are varieties ofgifts,but the sameSpirit; andthere are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities,butit is the same Godwho empowers them all in everyone.” Again,we see all three Personsbeingrepresentedbutnottitledthe HolyTrinity. Finally,the essentialsof Christianitywouldnotbe completewithoutthe ingredientthatbindseverything together—FAITH.“Nowfaithisthe assuranceof thingshopedfor, the convictionofthingsnot seen” (Hebrews 11:1). As Christianswe live bythisverse withthe understandingthatwe believeinaGod we cannot see.Butwe see Hiswork inour livesandall aroundus inHiscreation.We doall of thisthrough faithbecause we knowthat whenhe or she has faithinGods provision,He rewordsthose whoseek Him:“And withoutfaithit is impossibletopleasehim, forwhoever woulddraw near to Godmust believe that he exists andthat he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).