"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 . . . . . Our Website is UNDER CONSTRUCTION, please be patient!

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Monday, August 3, 2020

BACK TO BASICS – CHRISTIANITY 101 BTB


~ by James Fire

Introduction: 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 TIMOTHY 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 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 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:15-17
For inerrant and infallible see: Psalm 18:30; 119:160; John 17:17
For plenary see: 2 Peter 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 Peter 2:2; 1 Timothy 4:6; Matthew 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 Ephesians 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 so much a 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!

HEBREWS 4:16
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

After
[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:

EPHESIANS 4:11-13
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 is laid out plain and simple in: 

1 CORINTHIANS 15:3-8

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.

EPHESIANS 4:20-21
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 -
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! 

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