7 04 2010

Knowing What You Believe – AND – Why You Believe It!

It doesn’t matter what you think about Play-Doh, Napolean, or Bill Clinton.  It does matter what you think about Jesus Christ and Why!

The Christian experience is not like a man with a fried egg on his ear who claims the egg gives him peace and joy.  Rather, the Christian experience is securely bound to the objective, historical fact in history of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ!

Our belief or lack of it inevitably translates itself into our actions and attitudes!

So, what do you believe about…

1)      The Bible – (Book).  2 Sections: Old (39 books) and New Testament or Covenant (27 books).  Old Testament is arranged in 4 divisions: The Law (Pentateuch or 5 books of Moses), the Historical books, Poetry and Wisdom, Prophets, the Writings.  Septuagint, Gk translation of the Hebrew OT made during the 3rd century BC.  Its writing was done over a span of a thousand years.  The New Testament has four divisions: Four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, 21 letters(epistles), and Revelation.  These were written in a span of 100 years.  Earliest documents (letters of Paul) were written between A.D. 48 and 60.  The Gospels and other books between A.D. 60 and 100.  And they have survived!  How did they come to be written?  See 2 Peter 1:20-21, “…men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’ And 2 Timothy 3:16“All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Facts:

  1. The word of God was given by inspiration (plenary = full)
  2. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word (makes it become meaningful). John 16:13
  3. Its canonized.  Paschal Letter dated A.D. 367 then confirmed at a church council held in Carthage in A.D. 397.  3 Criteria:  Apostolic in nature, used and recognized by the churches, taught sound doctrine.

2)      God – God has revealed Himself through Nature and Creation as proofs that God exists and that He is powerful (Romans 1:19-20).  Genesis 1:1 is proof! (Depending on your belief of the Bible).  A skeptic once stated, “the Bible says, ‘there is no God.”  He was deflated when the context was revealed to him from Psalm 14:1.  “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’”

  1. God’s attributes or the nature of God:  love, holiness, sovereignty, etc.  God is separate from His creation
  2. God is eternal, self-existent, infinite and unchangeable
  3. God is triune(3): Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Fully Human – Fully God! (Genesis 1:26)

3)      Jesus Christ –  Buddha is not essential to the teaching of Buddhism, or Muhammad to Islam.  But everything about Christianity is determined by the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus asked Peter in Matthew 16:15, “who do you say that I am?”  Important question to know the answer to and why.  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!  John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”  He is Creator (John 1:3), Sustainer (Hebrews 1:3) and “In Christ all the fullness of the Diety lives in bodily form.” (Col 2:9). He was fully man – conceived supernaturally, born of a human mother.  The Word became flesh (John 1:14).  Jesus..

  1. Got hungry (Matt 4:2)
  2. Thirsty (John 19:28)
  3. His feet ached from traveling (John 4:6)
  4. He needed sleep and refreshment (Matt 8:24)
  5. He expressed love and compassion (Matt 9:36)
  6. He got angry at those who defiled His Fathers house (Matt 21:13)
  7. He got angry at those who deliberately refused the truth of God (Mark 3:5)
  8. He wept at the tomb of a dear friend (John 11:35)
  9. He was troubled within as He faced the agony of the cross (John 12:27)

4)      Christ’s Death – without the death of Jesus Christ, there could be no forgiveness of sins (or salvation).  Luke 19:10, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”  He came to serve (Mark 10:45).  His death is a uniqueness of Christianity. Here He did for man what man cannot do for himself.  He was our substitute (1 Peter 2:24 and 3:18, 2 Cor 5:21)

5)      Man and Sin – Genesis 3!  Result = total depravity.  This means that the evil principle has invaded human nature.  We are responsible.  Sin is against God.  The good news is that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Romans 5:20).  Romans 3:23 states that “all have sinned.”  James 4:17 says, “for him who knows the right thing to do and he does not do it, to him it is sin.

6)      The Holy Spirit – a person!  Deity!  Has PURPOSE!  Eph 1:13 tells us that when a person puts his trust in Christ, he is “sealed” by the Holy Spirit.  It’s a finished transaction.  Romans 8:16 says that “the Spirit Himself testifies that we are God’s children.”  He guides, encourages, strengthens, illumines, helps us!  He fills us, produces fruit in us and MORE!

7)      The Church – ekklesia, the called out ones.  Its people NOT a building.  It began at Pentecost.  It was first considered a sect within Judaism.  Increasingly Jewish proselytes (Gentiles that embraced Judaism) believed the Gospel and came into the church.  First requirement for membership was belief in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38).  The result is seen in Acts 4:42-47.  Also see John 6:28-29.

8)      Angels, Satan, and Demons – See Matt 18:10 and Mark 13:32 regarding angels.  Satan – see 1 Peter 5:8 “your enemy the devil.”  John 8:44, “father of lies”

9)      Salvation –  Repentence, Faith, Regeneration, election, predestination, foreknowledge, justification, sanctification, glorification.  HEAVY HUH!  Yea it is.  Just remember…

  1. For all have sinned (Romans 3:23)
  2. Christ died for us (Romans 5:8-9)
  3. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23)
  4. Those who believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9)

10)  Things To Come – Yea, its coming.  Read Revelation!  Don’t be afraid of it.  Don’t get caught up in chronology.  Just know He is Coming!  If we’re wrong, we risk nothing.  If we’re right, those who don’t believe risk EVERTHING!


There are about 12 commonly asked questions by non-believers.  If we have the right answer to the wrong question, it doesn’t do anybody much good.  It is important to know WHY we believe WHAT we believe.  Otherwise, we won’t have a confident, believable or persuasive story to tell.  We become a little like the little boy in Sunday School who was asked the question, “What is Faith?”  He answered without hesitation, “Believing something you know isn’t true.”  Many non-christians would answer this way.  But surprisingly many believers overtly or secretly hold this view.

1)      Is Christianity Rational? Don’t kiss your brains good-bye!  It is a rational body of truth!  Don’t doubt!  Because Christianity is about the ONE who is TRUTH, scrutiny will not harm it.

2)      Is There a God? Law of cause and effect.  No effect can be produced without a cause.  Humans and the universe are a effects who must have had a cause.  We come eventually to an uncaused cause, who is God.  Order and design of the universe.  Colossians 1:17 re laminin!  Oh yea, then there is the evidence of changed lives

Laminin - its what holds us together!! The Cross - What holds us together!

3)      Is Christ God? Matthew 16:15-16, uh yea!  He has the credentials.

4)      Did Christ Rise from the Dead? 500 eyewitnesses say He did.

5)      Is the Bible God’s Word? Faith!

6)      Are the Bible Documents reliable? Historical and survived time.

7)      Does Archaeology Help? Validates and punctuates!

8)      Are Miracles Possible? Every day.  A changed life is a miracle.  Purpose of biblical miracles was to point people to Jesus.

9)      Do Science and Scripture agree? There are honest differences.  Faith is key.  Scientific methods are questionable at times.

10)  Why does God allow Suffering and Evil? No easy answers – but read Job.

11)  Does Christianity Differ from other World Religions? Absolutely.

12)  Is Christian Experience Valid? IS YOURS?





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