Learning Some Basics of Christianity
Acts 9:17-23 NAS
Today I have a baseball and a football. These balls are autographed by Professional ball players. The emphasis is to point out the fact of basics or fundamentals as they relate to sports. You must know the basics and play by them if you are going to be successful. Christian also need to know the basics of the faith
How long do you have to be a Christian before you can share with others?
Paul began preaching soon after he was baptized. He was saved and called
to preach a few weeks before and when the man named Ananias came and prayed
for him and the scales fell off Paul's eyes he began telling others about
his faith in Jesus Christ. I think all of us should know the basics of
the Christian Faith and I want to share some of those basics today. I am
going to do that by making an acrostic from the word Basics.
Acts 9:19-20 19 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."
What was the basis or authority of Paul's proclamation? It was his testimony and the authority of the word of God.
The number one basic of Christianity has to do with the Bible. All matters of Faith and Practice come God's Holy Word the Bible.
Recently I Emailed my friend Don Elbourne who is a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary working on the last stages of his PH.D. in Old Testament Hebrew. I asked him what he knew about the oldest statements of faith. I wanted to know if the really old statements have the Bible and the first statement. Don replied that he had studied this very though and his research indicated all confessions of faith since the reformation listed the Bible as article one.
Why is that true? Because if you get off on the Bible you are just off. I have recently read a book by Ronald Dunn titled "Down Just Stand There Pray Something" and he commented about a man's position on prayer and said "there is just one thing wrong with that and that is that it is wrong." That is what I am saying about the Bible. If you are wrong here you are just wrong. If a person is off on the scripture they will be wrong in several matters of their theology.
Note these verses of scripture:
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
Matt 22:29-33 29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God. 30"For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31"But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living. " 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching. NAS
Matt 22:41-45 41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David." 43 He said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying, 44 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet"'? 45"If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his son?"
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
2 Peter 1:20 -21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. NAS
Listening to a cassette tape of a sermon by Dr. Tony Evans he said "the written word is so impregnated by the voice of God you can hear Him speak as you read.
Where are you in your personal position on the scripture? I tell you
it is Basic #1.
Acts 9:17 And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
If you read the previous verses you will find Ananias did not want to go minister to Paul. Why did he go? He submitted to the authority of God.
In the Bible we learn God is the authority.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. NAS
John 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin."
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. NAS
Romans 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. NAS
There were four preachers who regularly met to discuss theological issues. The one preacher was very conservative and the other three normally disagreed with him. And on one occasion, the conservative preacher just knew he was right and so he stepped outside the meeting and he just looked up to God and he said, "God, I know that I am right, I know this is what Your Word says I wish You would just confirm what I've said. Could You just this one time speak from heaven and say, 'Listen to this man, he is right." The other preachers came out to kind of joked with him about him trying to call in God. But to their surprise, a voice from heaven thundered and said, "Listen to this man, he is right." So the four preachers walked back in and one preacher said, "Well, now the vote is two to three instead of three against one."
It is so sad that there are people in our world who have that view.
God's opinion is just one more vote equal to man's. But the Bible says
God is the authority.
Acts 9:21-22 21 And all those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
If you know you know God how did it happen? How were you saved? The Bible states we are saved by grace through faith not of works lest a man should boast. How was Paul saved? Do you believe he was saved on the road to Damascus? Read his testimony as recorded in
Acts 9:4 ff, Acts 22:6 ff, Acts 26:14 ff. I believe he was saved on the road and latter baptized and instructed. In the great commission of our Lord (Matt 28:18-20) the sequence is; go, make disciples, baptize and then instruct.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. NAS
Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." NAS
Acts 10:42-43 42"And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43"Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins." NAS
1 Cor 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. NAS
A lady was driving in an unfamiliar area of town, She noticed a pickup truck following very close. There was, in this particular town, a frightening experience of a rapist attacking women so this lady began to watch this truck behind her and every turn she took, this truck also turned.
She began to be fearful and she deliberately took some turns trying to find out if this truck was really following her. It was obvious he was. She saw a convenience store/gas station and she pulled in, jumped out of her car and ran into the customer area. She turned around and looked and the pickup truck pulled in right behind her but the pickup truck driver got out of his car ran to her car opened up the back door and pulled out a man who was hiding in her back seat. It turned out to be the wanted rapist. Discovering the truth, the lady said to this man, I thought you were wanting to harm me and all the time you meant to save me.
Do you see a theological parallel. There are people who seem to be running
from God and all the time He wants to save them.
Acts 9:17-18 17 And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized;
In the text Ananias went to Paul in behalf of God. God did not do it by himself he use a man.
Let me remind you of what Ezekiel says "I looked in vain for anyone who would build again the wall of righteousness that guards the land, who could stand in the gap and defend you from my just attacks, but I found not one." (Ezek 22:30 TLB)
God expects us to intercede. This means we lift another person in prayer. We bear our heart for them. We take spiritual risk for them. Notice these other scriptures.
Rom 8:34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. NAS
Rom 8:26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weak-ness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; NAS
Jerry Dowdy the pastor at Second Baptist in West Plains shared with me about these verses that Christ intercedes for us from heaven to heaven while the Holy Spirit intercedes from this earth to heaven. We can also intercede for others.
A missionary author by the name of F. J. Huegel has written a book titled "The Ministry of Intercession". In this book, he gives the following testimony: I had been away preaching. Upon my return, the good wife met me at the door saying, "I am so glad you have come. Johnny needs you." I hastened upstairs and found our boy then nine years old, pitching around in bed with an unbearable earache. I drew nearer and said one word. It is found in Luke 7:7 where the Roman centurion said to Jesus, "Say in a word and my servant shall be healed."
"Speak the word, Lord" is all I said. Our boy fell asleep at once. He awoke without a pain. I felt that this was my opportunity to lead Johnny to a definite commitment to Christ. "Don't you think, Johnny, that out of gratitude you ought now to give yourself to Jesus?" Yes, he did it was done. He is now a missionary of the cross in Old Mexico. p 49
Do you have enough of a prayer life to pray like that? This man has
written several books on prayer and he illustrates he has become an intercessory.
Acts 9:22 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 23 And when many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, NAS
Why did Ananias go to Paul? He was commissioned by the Lord. We likewise have a commission to go and tell.
Matt 28:18-20 19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. " NAS
Acts 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."NAS
Wednesday I went to make a visit at Ozark Medical Center and as I left I saw a lady crying in the lobby of the Intensive Care waiting room. My first impression was to go talk with her to see if I could help. Then I thought no it's none of your business. Then I said yes it is my business and I might be able to help.
I found out she knew the Lord but had been told her daddy might not
live through the night. She knew the Lord and her dad's pastor had been
in to see them earlier. I had prayer with her and she appreciated it. Why
did I do it? Because I am a minister? NO! Because I am commissioned just
like all Christians.
Acts 9:22 23 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 23 And when many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him,
Who prompted the Jews to plot to do away with Paul? It was Satanically inspired. He is the enemy to righteousness. He opposes that which exalts Christ and we need to be aware of his ways. He would love to have us fail to respond as Christ does. Note these verses
Eph 6:11-12 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. NAS
1 John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. NAS
Last night my wife and I went to West Plains and then we stopped by Wal-Mart. I went to the section were the books are displayed. I saw a book by Beth Moore titled "Praying the Word of God."
I bought it thinking it suggested ways to pray the scriptures. It is a book that talks about the strongholds of sin in peoples lives and how to pray the scriptures over these strongholds.
Beth Moore identifies 12 strongholds in this book. Let me ask this "why is there so much written to day about the activity os Satan." Let me quote Beth More from page 16 in this book.
"Why has the subject of strongholds suddenly swelled in popularity?
... The Word of God clearly teaches us that satanic activity and influence
will increase dramatically as the day of Christ's return draws nearer.
Revelation 12:12 says of Satan, "He is filled with fury, because he knows
his time is short." p 16
If you don't know much about Satan ask a child if they hear anything about him at school. Many children can tell you of someone at school who in a satanic cult or they know some one fooling around with Satanism.
He is a defeated foe but is very active in his last days. One might ask "how does Satan know it is his last days?" I think he can read and he has some understanding of the last times.
How about you? Do you read the Word of God? Do you understand the basics?