"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


Bookmark and Share

Monday, August 3, 2020


~ by James Fire


Because of the fact that churches for the most part have wandered from discipleship and a firm foundation in the Word of GOD, and because the church here in America is thus ill-equipped to endure the times of persecution and hardship that are now at the door, such a ‘crash-course’ of the basics of Christianity is needful and provided here.

These will be concise, but complete treatments of the fundamentals that will aid those of the Christian faith in enduring such hardships and persecution that the LORD promised to all who will “live godly in Christ Jesus” (2 TIM 3:12).

There are seven sections (as seen in the picture above) for this course. Readers are encouraged to print these sections out as they are made available, along with information provided at Internet links in the event that the Web goes down, or even Christian sites are banned.

First, before we get into the particulars, let’s address the Bible itself: It’s been called the Good Book, but in reality, it’s a library of books, 66 books written by forty authors from various walks of life: Kings, Princes and Prophets as well as fisherman, herdsman, and tax collectors – over thousands of years in different languages and continents. Yet for all that diversity, this book reads with a fluid unity, a singular message that revolves around the Person of Christ Jesus.
It is GOD’s divine revelation of Himself – a kind of auto-biography in which He employed the use of these 66 amanuenses, secretaries as it were, taking dictation (2 TIM 3:16; 2 PET 1:21).

By GOD’s inspired revelation we learn about Who He is, His nature, His desires, objectives and goals, His plan for the ages; these we receive with the greatest of clarity through the LORD Jesus Christ, The WORD made flesh Who dwelled among us (JOHN 1:14), full of grace and truth.

We learn what GOD wants for us, expects from us and what He has planned for us, His children! The Bible is not only our spiritual food, but our guide through life, our source of strength and correction. It’s a self-contained, complete kit, providing all that we need in order to live godly lives in Christ Jesus and the knowledge of Him (2 PET 1:3).

Section 1: How To Read, Study and Apply the Word of GOD, The Holy Scriptures

For those new to the Christian faith: A prescription of Scripture reading, focusing on getting down with the Gospels, the New Testament and Old. For the more advanced in the faith: A cyclical reading of each section of the Scriptures in unison.

The Bible is a big book; it can be a little intimidating and leave a person wondering where to start. As the old adage questions us: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Reading through the Bible on a devotional level (“LORD what would You speak to me today? How do You want to reveal Yourself to me in this reading of Your Word?”) is like soaking in a hot tub, something to enjoy and receive the blessings readily available in simply reading the Word of Life!

Studying the Scriptures takes patience and work – like digging in a mine for gold; seldom is anything worthwhile quick or easy, but study yields even greater blessings that reside deep within the pages of Scripture.

For those new to the faith, or have never read through the Scriptures from cover to cover the following daily devotional reading is recommended:

1) For Beginners or those young in the faith:
Begin with the Gospel of John; then read through the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; once completed, repeat. Then read the rest of the New Te
stament, from Acts to Revelation; once completed, re-read the entire New Testament.

Move on to the Old Testament, reading through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; once completed repeat. Re-read the New Testament, then return to the Old Testament, starting from Genesis all the way through to Malachi (the last book of the Old Testament) and then complete the New Testament.

2) For the more advanced, the following recommendation is made:
Place eight markers, or ribbons in these sections, starting with Genesis for Bible Section 1 (The Torah), Joshua for Bible Section 2 (OT History), Job for Bible Section 3 (Poetic Books), and so on. T
hen in each daily reading of the Bible, read a chapter out of the first four of these sections and the following day, read a chapter out of the other second four (so every day, you're reading 4 chapters total out of the Bible); once you complete each section, return to the beginning of that section. In other words, when you finish Deuteronomy, return to Genesis. When you finish Esther, return to Joshua, when you finish Philemon, return to Romans, etc.:

Bible Section 1) The Torah – Genesis through Deuteronomy
Bible Section 2) Old Testament History – Joshua through Esther
Bible Section 3) Poetic Books – Job through Songs of Solomon
Bible Section 4) Major Prophets – Isaiah through Daniel
Bible Section 5) Minor Prophets – Hosea through Malachi
Bible Section 6) Gospels & Acts – Matthew through Book of Acts
Bible Section 7) Paul’s Epistles – Romans through Philemon
Bible Section 8) General Epistles & Revelation – Hebrews* through Revelation
* The epistle of Hebrews is anonymous in authorship, however there are certain clues in the writing and teaching styles that strongly suggest that this was an unsigned epistle of Paul who didn't identify himself for every specific reasons.

The Bible is GOD’s inspired revelation (knowledge directed by the Spirit of GOD through the various writers of the Scriptures) to mankind; it is inerrant (without mistakes), infallible (perfect), plenary (completed by GOD, with need of nothing supplemental).
For inspired revelation see: 2 PET 1:20-21; 2 TIM 3:15-17
For inerrant and infallible see: PSALM 18:30; 119:160; JOHN 17:17
For plenary see: 2 PET 1:1-3

The Word of GOD, the Bible is our spiritual nourishment without which we grow spiritually weak just as we would grow physically weak without food. See 1 PET 2:2; 1 TIM 4:6; MATT 4:4
“Spiritual eating is to take in something of the divine life. Real spiritual eating inwardly satisfies us, and we’re strengthened to live a normal Christian life. As we take in spiritual food, we grow in the life of God.
“And just as our physical food must be something of life for it to nourish us, spiritually what we eat, or take in, must be something of life and that gives life. The Word of God is of life and gives life: The apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16 said this: “All Scripture is God-breathed.”
“The Bible is the very breath of the living God; being God’s breath, it is of life and can impart life to us. And in John 6:63 the Lord Jesus told us, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
“The Word of God is spirit and life; because His words are life, they can give life to us. God gave us His Word, the Bible, not to be our textbook, but to be our food. It’s full of life, having been breathed out by God Himself, and His words give life.
“Whether we end up empty and unsatisfied after we’ve read or studied the Bible depends on whether we come to the Bible as life-giving, nourishing food or not. If we view the Bible simply as a book from which we can accumulate biblical knowledge, and we don’t get to the Spirit and life in the Word of God, we won’t receive the nourishment we need to grow in God’s life and to live a normal, healthy Christian life.”
For the Fundamentals of the Faith, click on this link, the primary and essential doctrines of the Bible. Also see the following for more in-depth study: DISCIPLESHIP 101- Sessions 1-4 

There are three basic steps to Bible study: (Note: ALWAYS pray to GOD for understanding before beginning a reading of the Scriptures – It’s the only book in the world that when you open it, you have the Author at your shoulder ready, willing and able to teach you! Jesus Himself will teach you! See EPH 4:21; as well as the Holy Spirit; see JOHN 14:26).
Expounding on these three basic steps:

1) Observation (what does the Scripture actually say – not what I think it says).
2) Interpretation (what does the Scripture really mean – not what I think it means).
3) Application (how can I apply this to my life – how I apply will depend on accurate observation and interpretation).

1) Observation: Read each verse of Scripture and carefully examine the words and consider their meaning. Underline or highlight words that stand out to you. Consider each verse in context with the passage you find it in (typically anywhere from three to eight verses, sometimes more, before and after the verse you’re examining). Look up any cross references you find and repeat this process. Write down any observations and truths you find in each of these passages in notes.

2) Interpretation: Based on what you’ve read and the facts that you have gleaned, consider what these things mean. For example, you may observe a pot of steamy, boiling water and come to several interpretations of deduction: the stove is on, the water is hot, someone is cooking something or about to, whoever it is, they left the stove unattended, etc.
Jesus said in JOHN 6:35, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger” What can we interpret from this? That coming to Jesus is the answer to my hunger. Jesus satisfies our spiritual life that hungers; that once we come to Jesus, we won’t ever need or hunger for anything else. 

3) Application: In seeking nourishment for spiritual needs, I can ignore any alternatives that can’t edify, satisfy myself or glorify GOD; it’s Jesus alone, and His Word that provides all I need or will ever need for every trial, hardship or experience I will encounter in life. I need to come to Jesus daily in the Word and in prayer, just as I need daily bread (food).

Remember, the Bible is not just a kind of text book to gain information from, but a love letter written to you personally, that explains all that GOD did to prove His love for you, most especially in sending Jesus to Earth, to reveal GOD’s love and plan to us, and to die for our sins on the cross. The Bible is our food, our drink, our inspiration, our shield and fortress, our compass, our light, our anchor, our foundation, our focus and so much more besides. The Bible is THE Book all about Jesus Christ (PSALM 40:7; JOHN 5:39).
For a very in-depth course on, for those more advanced in the faith (it is advised that younger believers complete DISCIPLESHIP 101 (seen above) before proceeding on to): 

DISCIPLESHIP 102: How To Study The Bible, Sessions 1-8 go here

Section 2: Prayer – The purpose and various kinds of prayer

What’s prayer for; Intercessory, petition and supplication, worship, prayer as warfare.

Put simply, prayer is communication to GOD; it is half the conversation; the other half is the Bible itself, the revelation and ‘voice’ of GOD. Between the Scriptures and prayer we have both sides for a meaningful relationship. No relationship can be established or last without such.

The general sense of prayer is just talking with GOD. I’ve heard from many young believers who said pretty much the same thing that I felt as a ‘newcomer’ to the faith: How do I pray?
How does one communicate with a parent? A sibling, a friend, a co-worker? By simply expressing your thoughts and feelings.

The Bible itself has much to say about prayer in its various forms; I found an excellent article about what forms that prayer takes in the life of the disciple – check out GOTQUESTIONS article, What are the Different Types of Prayer? The prayer of faith, the prayer of agreement or corporate prayer, the prayer of supplication, of thanksgiving, of worship, consecration, intercession, and imprecation are all covered.

One form of prayer that we must warn against is called ‘contemplative prayer’ – a close cousin is ‘centering prayer’: both are occult and mystical that creates an altered state of consciousness, and therefore are dangerous and could invite demonic influences. For two articles that deals with this, read, Beware of Prayer of the Contemplative Kind and also: MYSTICISM IN THE CHURCH: Contemplative Prayer And Her Evil Sisters.

Prayer is seeking GOD’s will to be done on Earth as it is in heaven (MATT 6:10), and because this is the extreme opposite of Satan’s will, prayer can be considered spiritual warfare. We will cover the various aspects of spiritual warfare in the last section (section 7), but to focus on prayer as a spiritual weapon in this warfare, feel free to read this specific article on the subject, part of the spiritual warfare series.

A well-known pastor was once asked, “What is more important: The Bible or prayer? And he answered with: What is more important: breathing in or breathing out?” In other words, both are equally important! 

Think of yourself in a rowboat, with only one oar in the water – you’ll only go in circles. If you have the other oar in the water instead, it’s the same thing, just going in circles in the opposite direction. But, put both oars and you’ll get somewhere – and with others in the boat rowing with you, you’ll get there faster and easier, and that’s where godly fellowship gets involved (which is the next section we’ll get into)!

There are many excellent books on prayer; the following shows a list of 11 titles by various authors.

My all-time personal favorite is The Complete Works on Prayer by E.M. Bounds. I’ve provided a site here that has all of his seven titles available on pdf that you can download and even print out for your own use! 

Again, communication is vital for the General, commanding his troops; the intel he receives must be accurate and up-to-date. For investors, information is also vital for the stock exchange. A surgeon requires all the information he can get before he operates on his patient.

Likewise for the Christian, communication from GOD on spiritual matters is vital, and we receive this from the Bible; our communicating with GOD in prayer, where we may receive direction and guidance from the LORD is also crucial.

No need is too big, nor any too small in our prayer to the LORD. We are to pray on all things (MATT 21:22; PHIL 4:6). We must pray according to GOD’s will if we’re to be assured of receiving an answer (1 JOHN 5:14-15; JAMES 4:3)

Prayer isn’t a wish list, nor a roster for supplies; Imagine you had a family business and your boss and father was at the warehouse where you need to pick up some supplies. With a roster in hand, your truck pulled up, you begin to name off all of your needs, which your Dad provides. Then once done, you have him sign the form and get ready to leave, but he stops you: “It’s been a while son, can you share a cup of coffee and some conversation with me?”

You see, GOD does indeed want us to go to Him for our needs, but prayer is far, far more than just this! GOD willingly sacrificed His Son for our sins, not only to pardon us, and prevent His judgment from condemning us, but to provide the means whereby He can have fellowship with us (that He couldn’t possibly partake of while we were condemned sinners)! But being covered in the robes of righteousness, provided by the LORD Jesus, a wrathful judge that must enforce justice on law-breakers then becomes a tender-hearted heavenly Father that loves us, and loves to spend time with us!

The Father’s heart was pierced with sorrow, seeing Jesus His beloved Son in the anguish He (willingly!) suffered for our sins, but They both knew that by doing so, countless souls would be saved and added to the holy family of GOD: adopted sons and daughters that will know intimate fellowship with Him forever! Prayer is the means to have that now!

This is the heart of prayer – fellowship with GOD Almighty, our Abba, Father!

ROMANS 8:14-16
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God

There will be times when an available Bible isn’t nearby, but you’ll be facing some severe trials; memorized Scripture will be invaluable at such a point, but also the ever ready resource of prayer is yours, where you can spiritually speaking, enter into the very holy of holies, approaching the throne of grace, where you can acquire the help necessary to endure such times!

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need

Why Should We Pray?

God insists that we ask, not because He needs to know our situation, but because we need the spiritual discipline of asking. — Catherine Marshall

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. — PHILIPPIANS 4:6

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. — LUKE 11:9-10

Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. — MATTHEW 18:19-20

The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him. — Oswald Chambers (an excellent devotional - this is a book with a short commentary based on a Scripture reference - is My Utmost for His Highest, by O. Chambers). For a pdf version, go here
To get your own copy of this book, go here.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. — COLOSSIANS 4:2

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him? —DEUTERONOMY 4:7

Come near to God and He will come near to you. — JAMES 4:8

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on Him in truth. — PSALM 145:18

How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. — PSALM 116:12, 17

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. — 1 TIMOTHY 4:4-5

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. — EPHESIANS 5:19-20

Other reasons to pray

On reaching the place, [Jesus] said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation. — LUKE 22:40

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. — PSALM 4:1

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. —JAMES 5:13-16

Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do. — JEREMIAH 42:3

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found. — PSALM 32:5-6

When Should We Pray?

Our whole life should be a life of prayer. We should walk in constant communion with God. There should be a constant upward looking of the soul to God. We should walk so habitually in His presence that even when we awake in the night it would be the most natural thing in the world for us to speak to Him in thanksgiving or in petition. — R. A. Torrey

All the time:

Pray continually. —1 THESSALONIANS 5:17

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. — LUKE 18:1

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. — EPHESIANS 6:18

In the morning, afternoon and evening

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. — PSALM 5:3

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. — MARK 1:35

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. — ACTS 3:1

Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me.” — ACTS 10:30

But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. — PSALM 55:16-17

[Jesus] had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. — MATTHEW 14:23

Before meals:

If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. — 1 CORINTHIANS 10:30-31

[Jesus] told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. — MARK 8:6

Where Should We Pray?

Pray alone. Let prayer be the key of the morning and the bolt at night. The best way to fight against sin is to fight on our knees. — Philip Henry

In private:

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. — MATTHEW 6:6

In bed:

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. — PSALM 63:6

In God’s house:

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. — LUKE 2:36-37

On the (spiritual) battlefield:

On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies. — JOSHUA 10:12-13

Excerpted with permission from Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer by Susan Brower, copyright Zondervan. 

Section 3: Fellowship, the body of Christ and ministry of the members

‘Inreach’ with the Gospel, gifts of GOD to the church, gifts among the members, where two or three are gathered, the indwelling of the Spirit, church discipline.

For a four part series, see the following “A STUDY ON ACTS 2:42” on doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread (Communion or the Lord’s Table) and prayer (links to parts 2-4 are included in part 1.)

Fellowship in secular terms is seen as a noun, that is, an association, a league, a club, a union with common interests, and this is true as well in Christian terms, but it’s also a verb, an action word. You could think of it as ‘sanctified socializing’.

It is the interaction between Christians with the influence of the Holy Spirit directing and coordinating. It can also be called ‘body ministry’ that is, the way that the body of Christ interacts and ministers to each other. The pastor ministers to the body by the teaching of the Word; Sunday School teachers do the same for our children. Ushers minister to those coming into the church building. Elders in general minister to the spiritual needs of the body while deacons minister to their practical needs. All members of the body minister to one another through exhortation, encouragement, prayers, and intercessions.

Even more, our fellowship is with GOD our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ! See these verses below; note that the Greek word for fellowship in all of these verses is koinonia 

ROM 15:26; 1 COR 1:9; 10:16; 2 COR 6:14; 8:4; 9:13; 13:14; GAL 2:9; EPH 3:9; PHIL 1:5; 2:1; 3:10; PHM 1:6; HEB 13:16; 1 JOHN 1:3,6-7.

Koinonia means, “fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse; the share which one has in anything, fellowship, intimacy; 
the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office); a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship”.

This sort of interaction, this fellowship empowered by the Holy Spirit can only happen with truly born again believers – not church-goers or those who only profess a faith in Christ, but whose lives are not empowered by the spiritual rebirth – these are those who are still lost, unrighteous (because Christ is not their righteousness) and still in spiritual darkness (2 COR 6:14; EPH 5:11; 1 JOHN 1:6).

The LORD Jesus Christ said plainly that if one is not born again, that they can neither see, nor enter into the Kingdom of GOD (JOHN 3:3-5)! Needless to say, it’s vital that we make sure we are truly saved, born again in Christ.

This is where “In-reach” comes into play; most of us are aware of out-reach that entails sharing the Gospel with the lost souls of this world, but in this day and age, when unbelievers populate the church with a veneer of Christianity masking them, it’s important that we inspect the fruit in each other’s lives and make certain that the folks sitting to our left and right in service are truly children of GOD, born of His Spirit (JOHN 1:12-14). 

Jesus alone is the only begotten of the Father, Who was (always) with GOD and (always) is GOD; the rest of us are adopted through the born again experience, brought about by believing the Gospel by faith in Jesus Christ and the grace of GOD. On the issue of the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Deity of Christ, see the link for DISCIPLESHIP 101 under section One on the Word of GOD (more on this in section Four under “fundamentals”).

GOD has granted members of the church with special giftings that are used for the blessing and equipping of the church at large, for the work of the ministry:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting [equipping] of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Notice the order in which these members are listed: apostles are first, then prophets, then evangelists and pastors and teachers.

Before the church even existed, there were the 12 apostles, and after the resurrection and ascension of Christ into heaven, the apostles played an integral role in spreading the Gospel (MARK 16:14-16), teaching the Word (ACTS 4:18; 5:25; 6:4), giving themselves to prayer (ACTS 6:4), and establishing churches (ROM 11:13; ACTS 15:41; 2 COR 11:28). Before the completion of the New Testament Scriptures, GOD provided New Testament prophets, but it should be noted, no doctrinal truth was given to the church by prophets, only by apostles (Luke being the notable exception). Prophets were for the leading of the church, giving direction (through the word of knowledge, a gift of the Spirit; 1 COR 12:8) and would be used of GOD to expound on Scripture and encourage the saints (1 COR 14:2,3), rather than to declare inspired truth that would equate to Scripture

Evangelists – even the very word has the same root word in the Greek for “angels” – and angels are basically messengers from GOD; evangelists are likewise messengers that bring the Gospel, which means “good news”. The foundation of every Christian, as well as every church body is the gospel; it is both essential and foundational, because if one’s gospel is wrong, then the life as a Christian based on such an erroneous belief will be wrong. Paul the apostle made the Gospel message simple in 1 COR. 15:3-4 (also check out the link above on the Gospel if you haven’t already done so).

Then there are pastors and teachers – these would consist primarily of the elders of the church that see to the spiritual needs of the body. Bible teachers are intent on feeding the LORD’s sheep (Christians) the Word of GOD; pastors do the same, but they also get more involved on an interpersonal level, inspecting people’s lives, marking spiritual growth, bringing correction, exhortation to individuals.

Both pastors and teachers pick up where evangelists leave off: evangelists bring lost souls into the kingdom of GOD via the Gospel; pastors and teachers will feed, instruct and disciple those brought into the kingdom of GOD and are intent in the spiritual growth and maturity of those in their charge (ACTS 20:28; 2 COR 1:4; ROM 12:4-9; COL 2:5).

It is vital that every Christian be involved in a local church body; this cannot be replaced with social media or watching services online; in order for body ministry to take place effectively, each individual Christian must be present with other Christians. As each operates in the gift(s) GOD has given to them for the mutual edification (building up) of one another, the entire body is blessed and progresses spiritually.

This of course does not mean that we must gather in a church building with the customary provisions of what we usually refer to ‘church’ necessarily (but this is the ideal and should be pursued!), but at the very least there should be a gathering of saints (in a home perhaps) for the mutual blessing and edification of all. 

I grew up in my early Christian years in such an environment – where Christians met together in a finished basement, worshiped the LORD as certain of us gifted in music led the praises, and then listened to a teaching tape by our favorite Bible teachers and pastors. 

As these days proceed and persecution of the American church intensifies, we may see permanent closures of church buildings enforced by Federal law (a result of entire church bodies refusing a COVID 19 vaccine perhaps?), and the saints will then resort out of necessity in meeting “house to house” as they did in the early church. We have seen similar things taking place already, under California governor Gavin Newsom policies.

Christians who believe that they can “go it alone” will typically end up ‘warped’ in some way, succumb to spiritual pride, doctrinal error, a feeling of exclusiveness (not needing or caring about fellowship with others, or perhaps only a select few that holds said person’s views. They will most often not receive correction, but freely give it to others).

Fellowship among believers helps us all as individuals to ‘stay on course’ in our lives as Christians. Fellowship is extraordinarily important during times of persecution and severe trials that may impact a community or a nation.

I believe that as we approach the time of the reign of the Beast, Scripture teaches that deception will increase (MATT 24:4-5,8,11,24; EPH 4:14; 5:6) as will wickedness (2 TIM 3:13; MATT 24:12), and both of these influences will cause Christians a great deal of spiritual trouble, in dampening their faith, causing zeal to cool off.

HEBREWS 10:24-26
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Due to the fact that Christians in countries where persecution is severe and intense, individuals find themselves isolated, alone, apart from any available fellowship with the body of Christ. It is thus of greatest importance that one’s relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ and intimate fellowship with Him and the Father and the Spirit be cultivated NOW by Christians here in America, in preparation for such a potential time ahead. This fellowship is found in the WORD of GOD and in prayer (as mentioned before, this is communication between Savior and saint; GOD speaking to us in His Word, and we ourselves speaking to GOD in prayer).

We may not always have a pastor or elder to encourage us in such times of difficulty, so we must learn how to encourage ourselves in the LORD; the following article explains how this is done. 

Section 4: The Gospel, Evangelism, Fundamentals

Simplicity of the Gospel
, and keeping it that way; foundational truth, Gospel bearers to the ends of the Earth. Understanding the foundational truth of Scripture.

We have provided a simple, straightforward explanation of the Gospel in the previous section of Fellowship, but in case you missed it, here it is again: The True Gospel: Accept No ImitationsFor a more detailed series, on this, go here.  

The Gospel is the central message and the foundation of the Christian faith: take it away, and there is no Christian faith. The central focus of the Gospel is the resurrection: take it away and there is no Gospel.

The essentials of the Gospel are laid out plain and simple in: 


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; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 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. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Before one can truly appreciate the Gospel, which means “good news” one must first understand the bad news, otherwise the good news will have no meaning. For example, let’s say you were approached by someone that said, “Good news, your insurance does cover fire damage!” – That wouldn’t mean very much to you unless you learned that your house caught on fire! It’s the same with the Gospel”

The holy, eternal Law of GOD shows us to be hopelessly lost sinners with not a trace of any righteousness that GOD can accept; the fact is, our human hearts are “desperately” (read that incurably) wicked (JER 17:9).

The Bible states that GOD is holy, and that in order to keep His integrity of truth, He must judge sinners; which includes all of us, no exceptions except One: the LORD Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh (JOHN 1:14). His judgment justly rendered will mean eternal punishment – why is it eternal when sins committed last only a lifetime of 60, 70, 80 years? If you commit the same crime in the USA, Germany, Japan and Iran, you’d receive different degrees of punishment; courts in these various lands would render a very harsh punishment, some more lenient.

The highest, most righteous and severest court in all creation is GOD’s court – where His Law (the 10 commandments, just for starters) is upheld to the greatest degree, showing absolutely no mercy: only pure justice.

Because GOD is eternal, and His Holy Law is eternal, therefore the punishment likewise is eternal.

This is why it took no one less than Jesus Christ, the Son of GOD, Himself eternally begotten of the Father, to take on our sin: He being purely holy and absolutely eternal, is a propitiation (a satisfactory sacrificial substitute) for our sins, an actual “scape goat” who can take the blame for us all, and render GOD’s holy judgment over sinners as ‘not guilty’ if they repent and receive Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior.

Not ONLY are sins forgiven through Christ, but eternal life is given to all who by faith receive Him! They are justified by grace, and grace alone, through Christ alone, by faith alone – no works other than believing in Jesus can accomplish this work of justification (JOHN 6:29).

Born again believers of Christ are transformed from condemned sinners to holy saints and children of GOD Who becomes their heavenly Father. THAT is good news!!

Which leads us to the next part of this section: evangelism: that is preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. Declaring the Scriptures that reveal the Truth of GOD and His plan of the ages, centering around the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is what the Gospel is all about, and therefore so is evangelism.

We are commanded by our LORD to preach the Gospel; does that mean that we are all obligated to stand on street corners and evangelize? Not necessarily – but whether in groups or with individuals, we are to share our faith.

Evangelism takes place through many venues: street evangelism and gospel crusades are just two; there is mission work, publication through printed articles, Internet sites, videos, personal correspondence, one on one ministry.

You might feel intimidated, ill-equipped and unqualified to share the gospel; that’s the kind of work for pastors, evangelists and missionaries you might think. But again, this is something that the LORD command of all His disciples:

MARK 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

So if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, born again of His Spirit, you’re qualified! If you’re intimidated, there is no need, because the LORD said that He is with you always (MATT 28:20), and He continually works with those who preach the Gospel; He is your ministry partner, and your personal teacher!

MARK 16:20
And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

And if you’re feeling ill-equipped, there is help available to equip you!
From ONCE LOST ministries with Flynn Huseby and Kyle Peart, we have the following materials that can help you. Even in such perilous times as we may be facing here in our nation, the Spirit of the LORD will embolden and empower us to do the work that He has ordained for us (EPH 2:10)!

ACTS 1:8
But ye shall receive power [from the Greek word dunamis, from which we get the word dynamite!], after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

ONCE-LOST ministries -

Tools For Evangelizing

ONCE LOST Resources

So then we have the third part of this section: Fundamentals of the Faith.

We provided a link to a TTUF article on this very subject, but if you missed it, here it is again.  

These fundamentals are foundational; no foundation of any Christian is complete without these.

These are non-negotiables with absolutely no wiggle-room anywhere. Some doctrines allow for different viewpoints: the method of baptism, the timing of the rapture, whether or not the gifts of the Spirit are for today. Not so for the fundamentals which include things like: The Deity of Christ, the Trinity, the Gospel of salvation through Christ alone and His atonement on the Cross, His virgin birth, the resurrection of the dead, etc.

So if you haven’t checked out the TTUF article on the fundamentals, do so now. And as said previously, please feel free to print these BTB – 101 sections (all seven once completed) as well as any articles provided at links contained here! 

Section 5: Apologetics

Equipment providing able defense in contending for the faith as a tool in evangelism.

The Greek word for “reason” is apologia, from which we get the word apologetics. And what is apologetics? Literally it means, “to give a defense’.
For a recent article on apologetics (and an audio of this teaching linked) check out: WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE BIBLE?

Christian apologetics, then, is the science of giving a defense of the Christian faith. There are many skeptics who doubt the existence of God and/or attack belief in the God of the Bible. But there is legitimate evidence to prove God’s existence

The same goes for the Person of Jesus Christ, as to His actual existence or His claims for Deity.

There are many critics who attack the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible

The infamous French deist and chief opponent of the Christian faith, Voltaire: 
 “In his pamphlet, The Sermon on the Fifty (1762) he attacked viciously the Old Testament, biblical miracles, biblical contradictions, the Jewish religion, the Christian God, the virgin birth and Christ’s death on the cross. Of the Four Gospels he wrote, “What folly, what misery, what puerile and odious things they contain [and the Bible is filled] with contradictions, follies, and horrors” Voltaire regarded most of the doctrines of the Christin faith – the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Trinity, Communion – as folly and irrational. And finally, “To invent all those things [in the Bible], the last degree of rascality. To believe them, the extreme of brutal stupidity!”
Not sixty years after Voltaire’s death, his house was purchased by the Evangelical Society of Geneva as a storehouse for Bibles!

There are many false teachers who promote false doctrines and deny the key truths of the Christian faith. The mission of Christian apologetics is to combat these movements and instead promote the Christian God and Christian truth.

Probably the key verse for Christian apologetics is 1 PETER 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...” 

There is no excuse for a Christian to be completely unable to defend his or her faith. Every Christian should be able to give a reasonable presentation of his or her faith in Christ. No, not every Christian needs to be an expert in apologetics. Every Christian, though, should know what he believes, why he believes it, how to share it with others, and how to defend it against lies and attacks.

A second aspect of Christian apologetics that is often ignored is the second half of 1 PETER 3:15, “but do this with gentleness and respect...” Defending the Christian faith with apologetics should never involve being rude, angry, or disrespectful. While practicing Christian apologetics, we should strive to be strong in our defense and at the same time Christ-like in our presentation. If we win a debate but turn a person even further away from Christ by our attitude, we have lost the true purpose of Christian apologetics.

There are two primary methods of Christian apologetics. 
  1. The first, commonly known as classical apologetics, involves sharing proofs and evidences that the Christian message is true. 
  2. The second, commonly known as presuppositional apologetics, involves confronting the presuppositions (preconceived ideas, assumptions) behind anti-Christian positions. Proponents of the two methods of Christian apologetics often debate each other as to which method is most effective. It would seem to be far more productive to be using both methods, depending on the person and situation.
Christian apologetics is simply presenting a reasonable defense of the Christian faith and truth to those who disagree. Christian apologetics is a necessary aspect of the Christian life. We are all commanded to be ready and equipped to proclaim the gospel and defend our faith (MATT 28:18-20; 1 PET 3:15). That is the essence of Christian apologetics. https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-apologetics.html

As mentioned before, Once-Lost ministries with Flynn Huseby and Kyle Peart is an excellent resource, not just for evangelism but for apologetics. You can find topics that the Christian apologist (this includes every disciple of Christ according to 1 PET 3:15). Find these resources (everything on issues ranging from abortion, to Roman Catholicism, Emergent Church, Evolution, Islam and more) at this link.

Also, other excellent resources are C.A.R.M. Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry http://carm.org/ and CROSSEXAMINED https://crossexamined.org/. 

From the CROSSEXAMINED website, there is the following page: Top 20 Apologists that lists able apologists and their websites (I can recommend almost all of these but with a cautionary notation for Hank Hanegraaff (who has in his latter years defended Roman Catholicism and preterist theology, as does R.C. Sproul) and Hugh Ross, who believes in a partial flood in the Genesis account. Of the twenty listed, there are a few that I’m unfamiliar with; my favorites are Norm Geisler, Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel (but even with these two, cautious scrutiny is needed), John Lennox, Josh McDowell. Frank Turek is also among my top picks! Check out his youtube channel, here

We know that we are saved by faith alone; this does not however mean that logic is unemployable in our endeavor to win souls. It’s been stated that logic is an invention of man and thus invalid for the Christian’s use. However, like mathematics, logic was not invented by man, but rather discovered by man. 

Check out this three-part series FROM the MIND of FIRE:

FAITH vs. LOGIC: Compatible or Contrary? Part One, Part Two and Part Three.
GOD, the WORD made flesh is the LORD Jesus Christ; one of the renderings for logos (the Greek word for “Word”) is “logic”. Another is “mind”; our Creator GOD fashioned everything in an orderly, logical manner, including our own minds.

No one will ever be saved because of logic, but they may be led to understanding the biblical truth demonstrated in the Scriptures and the logical tenets they contain. This then may well open the door for them, and consider the Person of Jesus Christ, and placing faith in Him and His Gospel.

This concludes this section for BACK TO BASICS - the next section will be on spiritual warfare and then the last section will address the subject of discernment.

Section 6: Spiritual Warfare

What is spiritual warfare? I asked that question about a month ago on Facebook and I received over 40 responses; among them were the following:
~ ~ “Submitting to Jesus and the Holy Spirit and allowing them to fight for and guide you in the battle against the unseen principalities and powers in high places.”
        ~ ~ “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (EPH 6:12). The name of Jesus is the name above all names. The word of God and the name of Jesus are our weapons. Using the full armor of God for protection.”
~ ~ “It's the battle we fight for the hearts and minds of men.”
        ~ ~ “Using the armor of God to block the fiery darts of the enemy and share the Good News to not only gain more souls but [also to] increase our [own] numbers in the battle.” 
Engaging in the principalities and powers that are in conflict with the Kingdom of GOD for the express purpose of saving souls and promoting GOD’s will in a fallen world.

Because this subject is so expansive, it would be difficult to encapsulate it in all of its significance, so the reader is encouraged to follow the link above, The TTUF series on Spiritual Warfare (permission granted to print out these articles).

Let’s go over the essentials here; along with the above quotes, consider the following as spiritual warfare:

It is the contest between the Kingdoms of GOD and of Satan and how they intervene in the souls of men. 
Also, from co-writer of TTUF, Anne Kisly said this, 
“Every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God (2 COR 10:4): false religion, worldly philosophies, psychologies, theories, and every other ideological fortress that stands in opposition to the truth of the gospel. Spiritual warfare is a battle against all anti-God ideas!”.
Satan is opposed to the kingdom of GOD: He is offended at the holiness of GOD and of the righteousness of His domain; thus he opposes all of this with the greatest of vehemence, employing every fallen angel, every demon, every fallen soul of man he can to achieve (but ultimately fail!) in this endeavor.

The quintessential embodiment of the holiness and righteousness of GOD can be found nowhere else than in the Person of Jesus Christ, and since His holiness, His righteousness, His very Spirit is granted by grace to His church – we saints are also ‘targets’ for his fiery arrows (“darts”; see EPH 6:16) to strike.

So any time you read the Bible, any time you pray, or share the Gospel, anytime you resist sin and submit to the will of the LORD, any time you petition GOD to enable you to live a life of holiness, you are doing things contrary to the will of the (unworthy) adversary of GOD, and this is what spiritual warfare is about.

The weapons we employ have been mentioned already: the Word of GOD, prayer (and fasting), living godly in Christ Jesus, the armor of GOD. 
The truth of GOD’s Word is called “the sword of the Spirit”. Any sword used in martial warfare is intended to strike down the enemy with offensive maneuvers, though a sword could also be used defensively, to ward off a blow from one’s opponent.
Likewise we use the WORD of Truth to strike down the falsehoods, lies, deceptions, philosophies and ideologies that are contrary to the will of GOD.

Thus we use GOD’s Word to show the falsehoods of evolution, of pantheism, of abortion, of perverted life choices and lifestyles; everything that is opposed to the truth of Scripture. When the integrity of GOD’s Word is attacked, we use this same sword of the Spirit defensively to reveal the authenticity and power of the Scriptures as being divinely inspired and revealed.

When tempted to sin by the enemy, sin being the proper conduct in the kingdom of darkness, we don’t revert back to our former citizenship (for we were all sinners, lost in this fallen world, belonging to this domain of sinful darkness) but resist sin, and remain loyal to our King, LORD and Savior and the kingdom that He rules! 

When we share the Gospel with others, we are proposing to them the freedom from the enslavement of Satan’s oppressive kingdom, and this is intolerable to the enemy, and he will do everything possible to thwart it and keep his P.O.W.’s enslaved!

When we pray (and, or fast), we are seeking GOD’s will to be done, in our lives, the lives of our loved ones, friends, neighbors and communities – this is adamantly opposed by the enemy, as GOD’s will is diametrically opposed to his own.

Spiritual warfare then is all about upright and outreach!

Living a life of uprightness, following JESUS in holiness and godliness, denying the sinful nature or “flesh” (ROM 7:5; COL 2:11; 2:13), denying this rebellious world (JAMES 4:4; GAL 6:14) and denying Satan (JAMES 4:7; ROM 16:20). 
For a three-part teaching on these three enemies of the Christian, check out this TTUF article, complete with video recording at SHINE BRIGHT Church OUR THREE ENEMIES: PERSECUTION By Satan, the Flesh and the World.

Outreach is of course sharing the Gospel and seeking to make disciples of Christ. There is in today’s world, even a need for ‘inreach’ that is, to preach the Gospel to church members, who may appear Christian in manner of conversation and conduct, but have never actually been born again, not having received Christ as LORD and Savior.

The idea of confronting Satan and his minions of evil, many Christians find themselves unnerved; even talking about the devil makes them uncomfortable. There are at times a need for exorcism and confronting demons that are oppressing, influencing or even possessing human souls.

For an excellent article on this, check out Dr. Greg Reid’s article DEALING WITH THE DEMONIC: RULES of ENGAGEMENT 

I happen to know some saints who actively speak out against Satanism and occult activities and are criticized by churches for “glorifying the devil’. But as Dr. Reid puts it, “I’m just explaining how the devil has been de-fanged!” And this is the truth: Warren Wiersbe said it best, “The Christian does not fight for victory, but from victory!” 

That is to say, because of Christ’s victory on the cross, over the sinful nature of man, this rebellious world of iniquity and all the power of the enemy – our own victory as being “in Christ” is assured (There are 26 references for “in Christ” found in the book of Ephesians, the go-to epistle for spiritual warfare; that should tell us something!)!

Thus the idea of putting on the armor of GOD, something you must get into, is synonymous with being “in Christ” and employing His power (not ours) in defeating the devil, just as He did, for example, in the temptation in the wilderness (MATT 4:1-11).

Again, the reader is encouraged to read the TTUF series on spiritual warfare that includes a careful study on the armor of GOD. 
For a brief summary on the armor of GOD, but with links to the full articles as found in TTUF, check out FROM the MIND of FIRE, HOW DO WE ENCOURAGE OURSELVES IN THE LORD? 

Let’s look at this passage that elaborates on this:

10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Since all power is of GOD (PSALM 62:11), and He delegates power to His creation according to His own sovereignty, this includes all of the angelic race (including Lucifer and all the angels who once were holy, but then rebelled against GOD and were cast out of heaven), all the human face, the animal kingdom, and the celestial realms of the universe, and the spiritual domain of heaven. He is the Head (or LORD, authority, Sovereign) of all principality and power (those listed in EPH 6 are also under His sovereignty, though in rebellion; Christ possesses the power to do with them what He wills.

Since we are spiritually of the circumcision of Christ, this identifies us with Him, so His victory becomes ours – just as He died and was buried three days, we die to self, no longer living for self, but “through the operation of GOD” for Christ Who has raised us up from the spiritually dead. All the blame for our sins and transgressions were nailed to the Cross of Christ, and thus, by the blood of Christ, we are now blameless.

Christ boldly and triumphantly declared this victory in the spiritual domain and “spoiled* principalities and powers” – and parading (“shew of them openly”) them about to their shame, for His victory and to the glory of GOD!

*The Greek word for “spoiled” refers to the stripping the hide off of an animal; in this sense, Christ stripped Satan and his kingdom of their essential powers, who once wielded the fear of death over the human race (see HEB 2:14-16; LUKE 1:78-79). 

In conclusion, we saints have every reason to rejoice as we keep our eternal vision, and take “the long view” that doesn’t get bogged down in the everyday, mundane struggles and defeats, but looks to “the blessed hope” (TITUS 2:13), the LORD Jesus Christ, and the establishment of His kingdom and the ruination of Satan’s own domain!

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

For an excellent resource that covers A to Z on all aspects of spiritual warfare check out Dr. Greg’ Reid’s book WAR of the AGES.
To read the personal testimony of his victimization as a child at the hands of ruthless occultists, read his autobiography NOBODY’s ANGEL; also a complete with a Q&A on this book conducted by TTUF, go here.

Next, the final section of this BTB - Christianity 101:

Section 7: Discernment in the Days of Apostasy 

Discernment grown from the Word of GOD and the Holy Spirit, in combination with rightly dividing the Word of Truth in confronting false doctrines, false teachers, and false movements.

Discernment – the Merriam-Webster definition is as follows:
1) the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure: skill in discerning
2) an act of perceiving or discerning something.

We’ll be getting into some nitty-gritty here, but it’s necessary; take your time and read carefully and pray for discernment!

Discernment is both a gift (1 COR 12:4,10) and something grown in the spiritual life of a believer as they partake more and more of GOD’s Word and becomes keener as one matures in the faith (HEB 5:13-14).

It is the ability to perceive and understand that which is non-obvious; at times even when there is little or no observable evidence in any given situation, and the Spirit of GOD imparts such spiritual insights that the Christian is convinced of the matter.

Satan has his counterfeit ‘gift’ of clairvoyance and psychic ability, but this involves demonic influences wholly destructive and debilitating to the one that opens themselves to such.
I love what Andrew Murray says about this gifting: “GOD’s gift of discernment is GOD’s call to intercessory prayer.” GOD doesn’t grant such ability to ‘wow’ people, or to vaunt oneself but to receive from the LORD insights into matters that require prayer, and potentially further direction afterwards.

One might, without any outward observation be given discernment on a visitor at church or in your home (or where ever you encounter an individual), that they are a false teacher, or under demonic influence, or one who struggles with alcohol or porn, or someone suffering from condemnation or loneliness – and GOD calls us to pray and rebuke the false teacher, to exorcize the evil spirit plaguing the poor soul, and to encourage the broken-hearted so ensnared by sin, and to befriend the one who is friendless. 

It should be noted that spiritual discernment and spiritual warfare are closely knit together; one cannot have one without the other.

In HEB 5:14 (previously cited) and 1 COR 12:10, the Greek word for “discern” is diakrisis and simply means “a thorough judgment, i.e. a discernment (conclusion) which distinguishes ‘look-alikes,’ i.e. things that appear to be the same.” (Note the intensifying force of the prefix, dia.) See also diakrínō

From dia and krino; to separate thoroughly, i.e. (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figuratively, to discriminate (by implication, decide), or (reflexively) hesitate -- contend, make (to) differ(-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver. 

Example: HEBREWS 5:14: "But solid food relates to mature people (téleios), of those having the sense-faculties trained ('exercised,' Gk perfect tense) on account of the habit – [namely] for (prós)  discernment (diákrisis), of both good ('in combination with,' 5037 /] and [what is] miserably-bad."

Charles Spurgeon said it well: 
“Discernment is not so much telling the difference between the right and the wrong, but the right and the almost right.” 
An oft used analogy to demonstrate this is the proverbial bank teller:

They are able to spot counterfeit money very deftly because they handle “the real deal” so much, that when anything fake passes through their hands, they spot it instantly.

The same can be said for those who handle the Word of Truth, the Holy Scriptures. By reading, studying, understanding, and applying the Word of GOD to one’s life, whenever a false doctrine is presented, or a false teacher for that matter, a Christian’s discernment becomes activated and that which is false is revealed to them.

This was something I experienced many times personally, but I’ll never forget the first time it happened. I was a Christian for only a few months and was ever eager to attend any Bible study I could get into, and at college there were always such opportunities. I was walking down the halls on campus with a sister saint named Joan when we saw an aisle with a sign “Bible Study” positioned just outside the classroom. We exchanged excited looks and stepped inside.

Yet it was only a matter of minutes that we both grew uncomfortable. While we couldn’t put our finger on it, there was definitely something wrong; it felt like something was ‘out of joint’ as it were. I leaned over to her and whispered, “Do you want to get out of here?” And she nodded emphatically. We quietly excused ourselves and when we stepped back into the hallway, that same aisle had the sign reversed so that the other side was facing out, and it read “The Way International” – a well known cult that proliferated throughout Canada and the Eastern United States!

The Good Shepherd was looking out for His two lambs who weren’t well versed in Scripture, who weren’t (at that time) mature in the faith but were granted the gift of discernment so that we could escape danger!
It is the Spirit of GOD that grants us the ability to mindful of details that would otherwise not be perceived by human ability.

In 1 COR 2:14, the Greek word for “discerned” is anakrino meaning: (from aná, "up, completing a process," which intensifies krínō "to select by separating/judging") – properly, to distinguish by vigorously judging "down to up," i.e. closely examining (investigating) through "the process of careful study, evaluation and judgment"; "to examine, investigate, question (so J. B. Lightfoot, Notes).

[The prefix aná ("up") shows the process involved that takes krinō ("judging/separating") up to its needed conclusion. Accordingly (anakrínō) is often used in its forensic sense in the ancient world. It can even refer to "examination by torture" (see Field, Notes, 120f, Abbott-Smith).]

In 1 CORINTHIANS 12, there is something called “a word of wisdom [and]…knowledge” that is closely related to discernment:

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

The word “word” here in the Greek is logos meaning “word (spoken), a living voice; mind, thought, logic, order” and the word “knowledge” is gnosis, which is the act of knowledge or knowing. This is an internal, personal, experiential knowledge granted by GOD, apart from any external sources of information.

So like discernment itself, a “word of knowledge” is something directly imparted by GOD. It’s vital to point out that such knowledge is not revelatory in the same way as is the inspired knowledge from GOD that is considered canon, or Scriptural truth that was given to the writers of the Bible, for the use of doctrine. In other words, discernment by the Spirit and the word of knowledge don’t give us new revelation truth; we have all we need in the Holy Scriptures.

This knowledge and discernment is confirmed by the truth of the written word (and if it is not confirmed, then such should be discarded as invalid!). The point of these giftings is to assist us saints by the guidance of the Holy Spirit in functioning properly as followers of Christ, in ministering to others, to come alongside and help in the various capacities mentioned already.

In a day such as today, with rampant deception, false doctrine, and apostasy on such a grand scale as never before witnessed by the church, the need for discernment has never been greater! Let us pray for discernment as GOD’s gift, as well as grow in our ability to discern as we get more into the truth of GOD’s Word, and never forget the motive with which we are to exercise any of the spiritual gifts: love (1 COR 12:31; 1 COR 13)!

Let us ask GOD for such gifts according to the wisdom that He imparts:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

For more on these matters, I would greatly encourage you to read the following articles:

In addition to the two articles above, you can find more on “discernment” at TTUF, under the Apologetics Tab: check out these articles as well! 

This concludes this series on the BACK TO BASICS – Christianity 101! 
If you have any questions or would like the WORD document for this study, send your questions and, or requests to me, James Fire at KNYHTF1RE@gmail.com; please include in the subject line "About Christianity 101 BTB".

No comments: