INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES
Christian Basic Training Lesson 01e
Introductory Thoughts to Christian Fundamentals - Part 2
by: Charles Buntin
e. Truth is personified in Jesus Christ (Jn 14:6) By that, I don't mean some mystical personification, but that
(1) All He was -- was true
(2) All He did -- was true
(3) All he said -- was true
(4) All He thought -- was true
Only hours before His encounter with Pilate, Jesus had said, "I am the Truth." In Him, we see the Truth of God walking in a human body ( Jn 1:14,18). If you want to know Truth face to face, know Christ.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
2. The second major principle of THY Word is: Biblical Truth is objective "TRUE" Truth. Unlike liberal, existential forms of the Christian faith, Biblical faith teaches that the events recorded in the Bible are reliable historical facts.
a. If you look at the typical apostolic sermon, (that is, a sermon by one of the apostles in the book of Acts) you find that the preaching of the apostles was grounded in the historical truths of the Bible. (Acts 7:1ff, Acts 13:16ff, Acts 10:34ff, )
(1) Example #1 -- Peter's sermon on Pentecost:
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
(2) Example # 2--Stephen before the Sanhedrin:
Acts 7:2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
Acts 7:3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee.
Acts 7:4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
Acts 7:5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
(3) Peter's sermon at the house of the Centurion
Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
Acts 10:37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly;
Acts 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
b. This is consistent with the preaching of Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament--they were not mystics or philosophers, they preached and taught about God, who is, who acts, and who communicates through personal intervention in, and providential guidance of the history of human events.
c. As the apostles recorded the gospel records, they were careful to stress the reality of what they were writing about the Life and Works of Jesus
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
d. Paul in teaching on the resurrection in particular, stressed the eyewitness accounts of it, and the importance of its factuality to the Christian faith.
1 Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1 Cor 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1 Cor 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1 Cor 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1 Cor 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1 Cor 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1 Cor 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1 Cor 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
1 Cor 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Cor 15:11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
e. Application to our lives today
(1) God is real--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
(2) God really works in our lives
(3) The Bible really speaks to the problems and situations we encounter every day.
(4) Heaven is sweet, Hell is hot, and many people we know need Christ
II. Why Are We Alive?
This is another basic question about the universe. Why are we here? What do the various non-Christian philosophies say about the purpose of human life? To begin with, most deny there is such a thing as a purpose. Purpose implies a conscious, personal, active, involved Creator, and Existentialism, Nihilism and Humanism deny that basic assumption. A far more dangerous philosophy that is becoming very popular is the New Age Movement, which says, among other things, that our purpose is to "become one with the universe." Another common belief system, The Self Esteem movement, wants us to feel good about ourselves. This movement is represented by popular psychology and psychiatry (including, unfortunately, many "Christian" therapists). Self Esteem is also a foundational belief of various 12-step recovery groups, who have a religious taste to them by use of the concept of "my higher power." As with any error, there is a grain of truth here--as creations of a Holy God, we are worthy of a certain dignity. But we are fallen; we are rebels. Without salvation through the blood atonement of Christ Jesus, we are not OK! If I help you with some sort of mental and emotional good feeling and heal your anguish about life, etc., and do nothing to bring you to the Cross for forgiveness, I have done nothing for you that will last!
What does the Bible say about the Purpose of Human Life?
The Bible teaches that the human race is a special creation of a personal, loving, God, and our purpose as a race and as individuals is to glorify Him, to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus His Son, and to live with Him forever.
1. The human race is a special creation of a personal, loving, God.
a. Evolutionary "science", on very fragmentary evidence, has concluded that our race oozed up from some 'primordial soup', crawled out onto the shore, eventually became apes, and then progressed to our current form. This is contrary to the teachings of Scripture (and disagrees with the hard scientific facts, too--see reading list at the end of this chapter).
b. The first chapter of Genesis plainly teaches that God created everything ex nihilo (from nothing), that He simply spoke it into existence (God said, "let there be...and there was..."). In Genesis 1:26-28 Moses outlines God's creation of the race, then in Genesis 2:7-25, he gives a detailed account. The race of Man was personally created by a personal God--for a purpose, for a reason. That reason is given in one of the most beautiful and profound statements in the Bible, Rev 4:11.
"Thou Art Worthy, Oh, Lord, to receive Glory and honor, and power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created. (KJV)
2. Our purpose as a race and as individuals is: to glorify God, to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus His Son, and to live with Him forever.
a. Our purpose is to Glorify God--
(1) The Whole Human Race Will Glorify God--The verse just quoted tells us God is worthy of Glory, so as His creatures we should glorify Him. The truth is that all of the human race will bring glory to God, but not all in the same way. Phil. 2:9-11 says (speaking of Christ),
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (KJV)
God has decreed that every knee will bow to His son, including those under the earth, which is a Biblical reference to Hell. We were created to glorify God, and every human being will. Some will do it as they rejoice in heaven over the salvation of Christ, and some will do it as they suffer the just eternal punishment for their sins.
(2) As believers, however, we have a special place in bringing Glory to God. We are to begin glorifying Him by our life as we live it now.
1 Cor 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
1 Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1 Cor 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
1 Cor 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
The Bible has specific instructions in many places on how to run our lives. It tells us how to run our marriage, our business affairs, our employed lives, and how to conduct ourselves in society and in the church. Our purpose in life as believers is to learn to follow Christ in such a way as to bring Glory to God.
b. Our purpose is to be molded into the image of Christ.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
It is our destiny and reward as believers to be conformed to the likeness, the image, of Christ. We won't BE Him, as a pantheistic New Ager might say; we will never have His attributes of Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Immutability--but our actions and our countenance will be like Him.
c. The final part of the purpose of our existence is: to Live with God forever. Oh, what a joy, to live in the presence of God eternally, to have no sin or human troubles to worry us, and to enjoy sweet fellowship with Him!
Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Acts 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
3. What are the practical implications of God's purpose for our lives?
a. This marvelous truth has important implications for all of life's decisions.
(1) We cannot live as if we are independent and free to do whatever we might decide to do. If we are Christians, we don't own ourselves. One passage quoted earlier, (1 Cor 6:19-20), said that we are "..not your own; you were bought at a price." We are not, as an old song said, "riding the trail alone." Paul reiterates this principle in 1 Cor 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.."
(a) We are responsible to God
(b) We are responsible to other believers
(c) We are responsible to our church
(2) All believers are priests (1 Pet 2:5, 9), and are to serve God in every area of our lives.
(3) In our family, God is to rule ( Ep 5:25-6:4)
(4) Our work habits are to be those He wants us to have ( Ep 6:5-9).
(5) In our civic duties, we are to exhibit His rule in our conduct (1 Pet 2:13-18, Rom 13:1-8).
(6) Indeed, as Paul tells the Collossians, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; ( Col. 3:23)
b. When all of this is taken together, a balanced Christian life will emerge.
(1) We will not be either lazy or workaholics
(2) We will have an ordered family with a loving atmosphere;
(3) We will serve God in every way. This is how life is to be lived--our life is not separated into our "private, religious life" and our "secular" life.
(4) The life of a Christian is to be one seamless tapestry, with all parts working together under the direction of the Holy Spirit, by the rule of God's word, following God's Son for the glory of the Triune God.
4. But what about when things get rough--what are the implications of this teaching in times of trial?
--How can God "get the glory" when His children go through trials and tribulations?
a. There is now a false movement claiming to be Christian which says that God always desires for us to be happy, prosperous, and healthy in this world.
(1) This movement, called The Word of Faith Movement, or simply The Faith Teaching, unrealistically and cruelly makes all our problems the result of lack of faith on our part.
(2) It assumes that God can do nothing without our puny personal faith.
b. As we will learn in chapter 3, God is sovereign, that is, He rules the universe, including determining the circumstances of our lives--(Dan. 4:34-35, Job 42:1-6).
c. So, if we are in a difficult circumstance, God has caused or allowed it to take place.
(1) Trials, therefore, are part of His purpose for our lives, and we are to glorify Him in our trials.
(2) There are several elements to this whole concept that are beyond the scope of this chapter, but they will be discussed in Section 2 of this book. However, some things you can look at to begin to understand this principle are:
(a) This world is not our natural home--we are strangers and pilgrims here (Phil. 3:20, Heb 11:13-16).
(b) God's chastenings are an assurance of sonship (Heb 12:5-13).
(c) It is normal for the world system to hate believers; when attacked and under trial from the world, we are following in Christ's footsteps (1 Pet 2:19-24, Jn 15:18-6:4).
(d) God can and does deliver His people from trials--but not always (Heb 11:32-39).
d. Therefore, our proper attitude in times of trial is to be that of the "three Hebrew children." These youths, captured by a cruel conqueror and pressed into the service of the enemy king, were faced with a choice: worship heathen idols or be fired (with real fire) Their answer is a masterpiece of theology and practical faith.
Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
Dan 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
God may deliver, or it may be His pleasure not to deliver--we still serve Him, whatever the case.
Christian, your life has meaning and purpose--you are to glorify God in all things, you are to be conformed to the image of Christ, you are to live with God forever.
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