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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Have Faith in the Beliefs of Christianity

Have Faith in the Basic Beliefs of Christianity
Recently a fellow church member told me that all a person needs is faith.  “Faith in what?”  I asked.  “Faith in whatever you feel.” She answered. “It doesn’t matter what we believe, as long as we believe.”  She added. This lady believes that Jesus was a good teacher who taught love but would never judge. And she doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  This conversation got me to thinking about how important it is for Christians to learn the basic beliefs of our holy Faith.   
When the Scriptures talk about the importance of having faith in Jesus, it doesn’t mean faith in any Jesus, but faith in the Jesus of the Bible.  There are many counterfeits out there.  God calls for us to get to know the core beliefs of our Christian faith and to hold onto them.  To contend for our faith. And to run from the many false doctrines that clamor to tear apart that faith
The core beliefs of Christianity are summarized here.  This is a short imperfect list.  But it is a start. The Christian Church down through the ages has had to contend for the Faith.  And one of the most central beliefs of our faith is who Jesus is. 
Core Beliefs about Who Jesus Is: Scripture says that Jesus Christ is God.  (John 1;1,14,10:30-33 and 20:28.  Colossians 2;9: Philippians 2:5-8 and Hebrews 1:8.)Jesus was born of a virgin – the Virgin Mary.  (Matthew 1:18: Luke 1:26-35) Jesus is fully God and fully man. (Colossians 2:9: 1 Timothy 2:5: Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus is perfect and sinless: (1 Peter 2:22: and Hebrews 4:15) And Jesus is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22) False teachers always try to attack who Jesus is, especially that He is the Son of God.  Jesus could not save us if He were not the Son of God. Jesus rose from the dead in physical form: (John 2:19-21)
Core Beliefs about God’s Plan of Salvation:  Humans were created by God in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) All people have sinned. (Romans 3:23, 5:12) Death came into the world through Adam’s sin.  (Romans 5:12-15) Sin separates us from God. (Isaiah 59:2) Jesus died for the sins of each and every person in the world. (1 John 2:2: 2 Corinthians 5:14, 1 Peter 2:24)  Jesus’ death was a substitutionary sacrifice.  He died and paid the price for our sins so that we might live forever with Him. (1 Peter 2:2w4: Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45) 
Core Beliefs about God the Father:  There is only one God. (Isaiah 43:10: 44:6,8: John 17:3: 1 Corinthians 8:5-6: Galatians 4:8-9).  God is omniscient or “knows all things” (Acts 15:18: 1 John 3:20) God is omnipotent or “all powerful” (Psalm 115:3: Revelation 19:6) God is omnipresent or “present everywhere” (Jeremiah 23:23,24: Psalm 139). God is sovereign. (Zechariah 9:14: 1 timothy 6:15-16) God is holy. (1 Peter 1:15) God is just and righteous. (Psalm 19:9, 116:5,145:17: Jeremiah 12:1)  God is love. (1 John 4:8) God is true. (Romans 3:4: John 14:6)  God is the Creator of everything that exists. (Genesis 1:1: Isaiah 44:24) God is infinite and eternal.  He has always been and will ever be God. (Psalm 90:2: Genesis 21:33: Acts 17:24) God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (James 1:17: Malachi 3:6: Isaiah 46:9-10) God promises to be with those who love Him (Isaiah 41:10)
Core Beliefs about the Holy Spirit and about the Word of God:  God is Spirit (John 4:24. And the Holy Spirit is God. (Acts 5:3-4: 1 Corinthians 2:11-12: 2 Corinthians 13:14) The Bible is the “inspired” or “God breathed” Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16: 2 Peter 1:21). 
Core Beliefs regarding Our Part in Receiving Salvation: We do not work to gain salvation.  It is God’s free gift to us.  All we do is believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord and accept the gift of salvation that He is offering.   “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest any person should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9) We simply believe or have faith in Christ to save us from our sins.  Scripture says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16) “Therefore a person is justified by faith without doing the works of the law. ((Romans 3:28) “If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) 
Core Beliefs Regarding Baptism and Taking Holy Communion or Eucharist:  Jesus asked the disciples and all of His followers to remember Him and His death by eating the bread which is His body broken for us and by drinking the wine which is His blood shed for us.  Jesus gave his disciples bread and told them: “This is My body given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.”  And then Jesus took the cup of wine and said: “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:19-22) Scripture also teaches us to be baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  (Matthew 28:18) We are proclaiming to the world our union with Christ when we are baptized. We are “buried” with Him in baptism – giving up our life and taking on His. “For we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we are all given the one Spirit to drink.”  (1 Corinthians 12:13) There is indwelling grace that is bestowed upon the partaker when he or she enters into the sacrament of baptism and the sacrament of  the Eucharist or Holy Communion.
Core Beliefs About the Trinity:  God is Three Persons in One.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19., John 14:16-17, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Acts 2:32-33, John 10:30, 17:11 and 1 Peter 1:2) The Trinity is a mystery.  Our faith is a mystery and we accept it with faith.
Core Beliefs About Hell and Judgment Day:   Hell is real.  It is a place of punishment.  (Matthew 25:41-46, Revelation 19:20) Hell is eternal (Matthew 25:46) There will be a Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8) 
Core Beliefs About the End Times:  There will be a rapture of the Church.  (Matthew 24:30-36, 40-41, John 14:1 and 3:1) Jesus will return to the earth (Acts 1:11) Christians will be raised from the dead when He returns.  (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) There will be a Final Judgment. (Hebrews 9:27 and 2 Peter 3:7) Satan will be thrown in to the Lake of Fire (Revelations 20:10) God will create a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13 and Revelations 21:1) 
Core Beliefs About How We as Christians Are to Live:  When Jesus was asked what commandments God’s people were to follow, He answered this way: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all of your heart, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matthew 22:36-40) Also, we are commanded in Scripture to forgive those who have sinned against us.  (Matthew 6:12) We are to obey the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17)  Give to the poor and needy. Live humble lives. (1 Thessalonians 4:11) We are to pray to our heavenly Father every day, read and study God’s Word and meet with other believers regularly. (Hebrews 10:25 and 1 Timothy 2:15) And most of all we are to believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior and give our lives to Him. (John 3:16) The Holy Spirit will guide us in these things.
Our God given faith has been faithfully passed down to us by our spiritual fore fathers.  We have a wonderful, joyful, living faith, not a dead stagnant legalistic tradition.  We will be persecuted and ridiculed for our faith and we will need to contend for our faith. These core beliefs are just the bare basics.  There is so much more.  But we as Christians need to know what we believe.

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