PURPOSE AND VISION
I. Our gathering together to study the word of God is an act of worship!
It is not just an intellectual or academic matter.
Also, even though we may have some structure, we should always remember that God is to control this worship time. He may change things around on us as we proceed. You never know where God may lead us at any given moment as we study His word!
ALL SCRIPTURE IS TO BE STUDIED WITH A EYE TOWARD CONTEXT OF GIVEN THEME AND ALSO ATTENTION TO THE ACTUAL WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS! USAGE OF A VERSION OF THE BIBLE THAT PLACES 'ADDED' WORDS IN ITALICS WHICH WERE NOT IN THE MANUSCRIPTS IS PREFERRED. VERSIONS SUCH AS: KJV; NKJV; Other versions can be used but careful attention must be utilized because many do not do this, and also, many actually change the 1st order meaning of words to keep a traditional denominational teaching intact. Notes care be very dangerous also. Those notes which are placed by some particular minister, may have errors, and certainly different "ideas" than historical interpretation. One has to be careful about purchasing a Bible with a 'man's name' on it that is full of his or notes. Those notes are not inspired. Commentaries alongside of the Bible is one thing, but to place tons of notes in a particular version by some denominational group and some liberal writer can be very dangerous. Remember also, transliteration which is using a derivative of the Greek word rather than actually translating it means one has to know the Greek word and its 'first order usage"! An example is "baptism". The Greek word is "Baptizo" meaning "immerse, dip, plunge, etc.! Secondary usage would allow sprinkling, or pouring. Better to translate first order with secondary or third use possibilities in the margin. But political and traditional denominationalism caused this to take place to keep certain doctrines taught that differ from the word of God.
No theological system or proposition or work by anyone, should be held so tightly that it cannot be jarred loose by the actual Scripture(s)!!
We want to observe from scripture, how theology affects life and worship.
Especially in witnessing THE GOSPEL OF Christ to the lost; and growing to maturity WITH THE GOSPEL
John Calvin stated: “it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.”
The hopeful result in all of this is to fulfill and obey: the Great Commission given in Matthew 28: 19-20 and 2 Timothy 3: 15-17
“Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2 Timothy 3:15-17:
“..and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work!”
THEOLOGY IS ALWAYS ABOUT GOD’S GOSPEL!
These are things we must from the start all agree upon.
I. Six Solas
Since Christ ascended back into heaven, the Church has taken that “good news” to others. In the Churches history, we find periods of complacency, and heresies develop, and at times so strong that the “light” almost seemed to fade away! Yet, it did not! The Roman Church became large and strong but full of heresy, darkness, and even preached another Gospel. But, over close to 500 years ago, God awakened His people in the Great Reformation, and that “Light” began to sweep across the world again.
For five hundred years protestant Christians have summed up the gospel in terms of the five statements called “The Five Solas.
As revealed with final authority in Scripture alone, the Gospel is the good news, that by faith alone, through grace alone, on the basis of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone! John Piper would add “sinners have full and final joy in God alone.” All these affirmations are grounded in the Bible.
A. SCRIPTURE ALONE: Is the final authority for revealing and defining the gospel of Christ
“…..If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
The apostolic delivery of the gospel is final and decisive.
B. FAITH ALONE:
“We hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
Faith plus nothing, is the way we receive the gift of justification.
C. GRACE ALONE:
Ephesians 2.5, 8-9:
“When we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved.”
. . . For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
D. CHRIST ALONE:
“Christ has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this for all when he offered up himself.
NOTICE: Hebrews 9.12 and Hebrews 10.10″
Once for all and decisively. Nothing can be added to the work of Christ to cover our sins and that work cannot be repeated. “It is finished” (John 19:30).
E. GLORY OF GOD ALONE:
“God predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ ….to the prise of the glory of His grace. God saved us in such a way, that there would be NO human boasting.
“Ephesians 2.9 and 1 Corinthians 1.26-31”
F. LAST, JOHN PIPER ADDED:
WE ARE TO HAVE JOY IN GOD ALONE!
PSALM 16:11 AND PSALM 73:25
“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures Forevermore. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
This is the gospel as millions of Christians have thought about it, for centuries, and we are happy to link arms with this great Reformation heritage:
God in Christ: The Price and the Prize of the Gospel.
Jeremiah 9: 23-24 reads:
“This is what the Lord says: ….. those who wish to boast, should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that, I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love, and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things, I, the Lord, have spoken.”
“Who is like you,…O Lord? Who is like You, Majestic in Holiness. Awesome in praises, working wonders?”
Daniel 4: 34-35;
“After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshipped the Most High and honored the One who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and His kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing comapred to Him. He DOES AS HE pleases among the angels of heaven AND among the people of the earth. NO ONE can stop Him, or say to Him, What do you mean by doing these things
II. The living God of the Universe is untamable. He is good however. But , He isn’t safe, (we are safe in terms of our redemption and salvation). But, try to subdue God, you might lose an arm, or worse.
Augustine, early Church Father, said: “The truth is like a Lion, you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose, It will defend itself.”
Taking a cue from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a writer named, “Drew Dyck, wrote a book entitled: “Yawning at Tigers: You can’t Tame God so Stop Trying.”
A. Remember, King Uzziah who inserted himself into the Priest’s role and burned incense in the Temple and God struck him with Leprosy!
B. Remember, when David was returning the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and the Oxen stumbled and Uzzah reached up to hold the Ark in place, and God struck Him dead on the spot, for placing his hands on the Ark. Only Levites were to ever do things like that – not anyone else. It was regarded as Holy and Sacred, only Priests were allowed to handle the Ark!
C. Then what about Mt. Siani! God was all over that mountain, Moses was meeting God there, and no one – no, not even an animal, could touch that mountain – and if they did they were slain on the spot by the Holy Fire of God and His presence.
GOD IS GOOD, BUT HE IS DANGEROUS WHEN WE TRY TO MAKE HIM LIKE US!
D. Michael Horton – a Christian Pastor and author said: “Nobody today seems to think that God is dangerous. And, that is itself a dangerous oversight! It is dangerous because before we YAWN at God, we must first replace the majestic, holy, awesome LION of scripture and domesticate Him into a kitten. Who wants a God who roars, who threatens, who judges? Why not fashion a god in our taste, — a god we can mold in our fingers and manage and export?
E. And I would say, one who has a wax nose we can arrange to look like we would like it, or one we can make to act like we do in the things we enjoy and like. In other words, let’s make a IDOL!
F. We do have the privilege of entering into the Holy Place, and come boldly to the Throne of God’s grace to find help in time of need. That is a safe place to be! We are now Priests of God and have been given freedom to approach Him through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior in prayer!
HEBREWS 4: 12-13
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do”
III. We believe the scriptures are inspired by God AND OUR ONLY RULE FOR FAITH AND PRACTICE. Our local called out body Is His Church and His word tells us what to do and what to believe! Chaos and Heresy develops if we leave it!
IV. We also recognize He is sovereign and in control of all things! He has not left the Universe and His creation to blind chance, or accidents, or man’s ultimate final determinations.
V. We also recognize the Bible teaches Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. The God-Man! The Gospel message and all it implies.
VI. God is a Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – BUT YET ONE IN ESSENCE and substance.
SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN BY 40 AUTHORS; CAME FROM 3 CONTINENTS; OVER A PERIOD OF 2000 YEARS; WRITERS WERE FROM VARIOUS BACKGROUNDS; (SHEPHERDS, KINGS, SCHOLARS, FISHERMAN; PRIESTS, ETC.); SOME 66 BOOKS (39 OLD TESTAMENT AND 27 NEW TESTAMENT) - AND ALL HAVE A VERY COMMON UNITY (NEVER CONTRADICTING EACH OTHER), AD THEY HAVE A PERFECT CONSISTENCY OF MESSAGE! THEY WERE WRITTEN IN 3 LANGUAGES, HEBREW, GREEK AND ARAMAIC. EVIDENCE OF INSPIRATION IS THERE WERE 2500 PROPHECIES (2000 FULFILLED TO THE LETTER), AND THE OTHER 500 ARE STILL FUTURE. NO ERRORS EXIST! THE ODDS OF THAT JUST HAPPENING IS LESS THAN 1 IN 10!
In Eternity Past – Decree of God: Three (3) Main Plans Developed:. Redemption of God’s People – Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:15)
“All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.“
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether throne or dominions or rulers or authorities—-all things were created through Him and for Him, And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
C. PROVIDENCE: GOD RULES OVER ALL THINGS!
“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.”
- BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS:
B. Noah’s Flood;
C. Resurrection of Christ
D. The New Creation
SOME BASIC RULES OF BIBLICAL HERMANEUTICS
A. APPROACH THE BIBLE USING THE NEW COVENANT HERMENEUTICAL RULE AS FOLLOWS:
- A normal historical, narrative style of language meaning, which will be literal and normal usage of language, paying attention to grammar and the historical background.
- Also, recognize the context will present at times: allegorical, figurative, poetic, and parable portions – which will be evident to us when it is presented. It is usually well identified.
- It is important to remember God has ONLY ONE MAJOR point when He speaks. Many applications or principals, but He speaks and we need to know what He actually is saying! That means we may have to be willing to change our current understanding about some things – having God and His word as the final answer or meaning to a subject or word. And, we will always strive to be in unity and love, regardless WHETHER we understand something in the same way!
- Use the New Testament (New Covenant) to always unveil the Old Testament teachings which means it (NT) is a primary scriptural body of words which unfold O.T. teachings much clearer and illuminating.
B. Key Words in a verse are a very important element of getting to the actual point God is making in a sentence, verse, chapter or book.
a. World – 7 different ways the term is used.
b. Love – 4 Greek words used and each different.
Eros – (not in Bible)
Storge – Affection, family type love
Philia – Friendship/brotherly affection (more feeling and emotions than Storge)
Agape – Selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional To God and others
- 4 Seeds of Abraham. We must understand when God uses the term Israel in a verse, it is and will be ONE of the 4 Seeds of Abraham, but which one?
- THE FOUR SEEDS
- Abraham’s NATURAL SEED – Isaac and Ishmael; Jacob and Esau
- Abraham’s SPECIAL NATURAL SEED – Nation of Israel (Jews) (Hebrews)
- Abraham’s SPIRITUAL SEED – Saved people regardless of race, tribe, or affiliations (Jew and Gentile)
- Abraham’s UNIQUE SEED – The Lord Jesus Christ
-RESULT OF A PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF THIS ONE WORD ISRAEL AND/OR SEED OF ABRAHAM
- All people who are “IN CHRIST” are the Israel of God!
- Notice: Galatians 3: 28-29
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus. AND if you are Christ’s then you ARE ABRAHAM’S Seed (offspring), heirs according to promise.”
3.Romans 2:28-29“But a JEW is ONE inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, NOT by the Letter. His prise is not from man but from God.”
“But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and NOT all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but Through Isaac shall your offspring be named. This means: that it is NOT the children of the FLESH who are the children of God, but the children of the Promise are counted as offspring.” Chapter 11:2 – “God has not rejected His people whom HE FOREKNEW!“
C. THE NEW COVENANT (TESTAMENT) IS TO BE USED TO INTERPRET THE OLD.
1. TURN IN THE BIBLE TO: HEBREWS 1:1-4, 10-12
MATTHEW 5, 6 AND 7:
THE LORD JESUS SAID ABOUT 15 TIMES: “YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID, BUT I SAY UNTO YOU….”! Either correcting or adding to the words given in the Old Testament.
- SO, the New Covenant supersedes the Old Testament Covenant – clarifies and reveals more.
See Galatians 3:8-14
“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed. So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on works of the law are UNDER a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law and do them. Now it is evident that NO ONE is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. But the law is not of faith, rather, “The one who does them shall live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—-for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree—-so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
The fact is, an unknown God can’t be trusted, served, and worshipped. One must have a clarity of Who the God is, that he or she worships! What He is like, His attributes, His character of being, His powers and works, etc!
Along with knowing, will come a transformation of our lives, as we comprehend these truths about Him.
THEOLOGY AND DOCTRINE HAVE A PURPOSE: TO CHANGE OUR LIVES INTO A PEOPLE WHO WORSHIP GOD, WITH ALL OF OUR HEART AND LOVE HIM, AND OTHERS AS OURSELVES. IF IT DOESN’T DO THAT – SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH OUR APPROACH OR OUR THEOLOGY AND DOCTRINE IS NOT CORRECT!