Basic Bible Doctrine

God is…..
a Person: Intellect, Emotion, Will
Spirit: not bound by physical limitations
Infinite: not limited in any way
Eternal: having no beginning, no end…existing all along the time line, simultaneously
All: whatever the quality
The First Cause of everything there is
Just: requiring punishment for sin and blessings for obedience

Human Beings must relate to God as He is, not as we imagine. Physical responses to God must flow from a spirit that is in tune with God, or it is witchcraft. Witchcraft describes the behaviors designed to commune with God, worship God, appease God or get Him to do something we want done, by means of human technique. Efforts toward this purpose open the practicioner to danger: demonic power or possession. Jesus told us that to worship God we must do so in spirit — not through physical means; and in truth: the way God prescribes, not just any way we please. John. 4:23,24

Sin is the repudiation of God, expressed in attitude or in action. Think of God as The Supreme Monarch of The World. He has moral and social standards that reflect His nature and purpose. Those who violate those standards expose a hatred for God, as they rebel against Him in their heart. This Monarch reads the heart. We do not have to express rebellion in overt ways. We can merely ignore God’s standards or denigrate them in thought. This is every bit as sinful as acting out the worst sin imaginable. Sin, on any level, is a rejection of God and an affront to His authority and leadership.

Human Beings were created by God to reflect His Being. Created higher than brute beasts, with both a soul and spirit: sentient creatures, tri-partite creatures, capable of fellowship with God. Created good, they had no sin, no moral / spiritual corruption in them until they rebelled against God. this rebellion was in their heart: “God does not deserve my allegiance!” “My obedience!” “I can know what’s best for me, without Him!” “I can achieve more by following my own desires!” The result was spiritual death. The spirit of man was now cut off from God: it died. [death = separation, not cessation]. This corruption extended to their body. It was expressed as estrangement from God and fear. It was also expressed as rebellion [think Cain].

When sin entered, it was first revealed in terms of sexual awareness. Adam and Eve hid their bodies from one another, even as they hid themselves from God [“God,” was Jesus]. Human Beings are designed as One species. We are linked by DNA to one another. More than this, we are linked to one another by our spirit. God says we all sinned, in The Garden, when Adam sinned — We were IN Adam. This spiritual, physical, moral linkage allowed Jesus to die ‘once,’ paying The Price for all. But this linkage is what condemns us, even before we commit our first sin. Only sinners, sin. We are born in spiritual, physical and moral corruption. We come into th is world “cut off” from God, due to a dead spirit. Our bodies begin to die, the moment we take our first breath. We bein life selfishly and deceitfully; demanding attention and pretending we have pain or hunger, in order to get attention. It only gets worse, from there.

Salvation is A Work of God upon the spirit, making it alive unto Him. Religion is A Work of Man, in his attempt to reach out to God; connect with God; please God.Everyone has a religion. True worship of God, however, is a matter of the spririt. If your spirit is cut off from God, your worship is vain….or worse.

The Seeker-Sensitive philosophy brings people who do not know God into a Church setting and provides a worship form that appeals to their flesh. These folks are told they are worhipping God, without the heart-surrender and spiritual awakening necessary to do so. It is among the worst kind of deceit! It is evil! It is demonic in it’s philosophy! It is not the Spirit of God Who is behind it.

The Bible is very precise; very specific in what it represents and what it teaches. When there are significant variations, it’s a matter of interpretation. Men proclaim these differences as legitimate becuae The Bible is not precise. They are Wrong! The Bible is very precise. God locked His Word in the written language for a reason. Language has rules: vocabulary, grammar, syntax. Language locks ideas into what the author intended. The reader is then a discoverer, not a participant in the purpose of the writing.

The reader uses the same rules as did the writer, or he will never understand what is written. When the reader applies his own ideas to the text, it suffers. This is why people say we can interpret The Bible in many different ways. We can. But to do so is create meaning, not discover it. How many ways can you interpret the word STOP, when you find it on a sign by the road? Only one way will keep you alive….which is it’s intent.

When it comes to salvation, many differing ideas exist. Some teach salvation by works. Some believe all will be saved in the end. The Bible teaches only One Way To God! That One Way is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Bible: 1. Recognize your sinful condition before God 2. Repent of that sinful orientation. 3. Believe [commit] on the Lord Jesus Christ

Water baptism pictures this transaction. Water baptism marks you as “one of them!” Water baptism adds nothing to your spiritual state. It is commanded that every believer be baptized AFTER they are saved. It is a command, so should a believer resist or reject baptism, they expose the fact that they are not fully committed, not fully trusting of God or of His Word. Should that continue over a long period of time, it would be very troubling.

Bible Christianity teaches salvation by God’s Grace, Through Faith, Not of works…lest any man should boast. Boast of what? Boast that he had something to do with it. Every other religious system is the opposite! Every other religious system requires some form of human ability or effort….works.

When Bible scholars, Theologians, Teachers and Preachers debate Scripture, they debate interpretation. If everyone is using the same rules, there should be consensus, not dramatic disagreement. When there is this disagreement, it is due to violations of the grammar, unfamiliar vocabulary, preconceived ideas, an inadequate background in the subject at hand or a desire to make the Scripture say what they want it to say. Behind every deviation from Apostolic Doctrine is a man or a woman who had a different idea as to what The Bible was teaching, at one point or another. The New Teachings are the same in that they transfer the authority from God to man.

The opposite of Christianity or Judaism is Witchcraft, in one form or another. Witchcraft takes many forms but the basics are the same. It relies on a human technique: something you must say or do, in order to get the demons to perform in a prescribed way. The words used have a certain power [they say]. Certain behaviors bring about divine blessing or spiritual manifestation [they say]. It is the way you do what you do; the place you do it; the time you do it. All this is no different from sorcery.

We see it in the charismatic expressions, the Word-Faith doctrines, the rituals in the Roman Catholic Church, and others, as well as in many of the cults [LDS, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, etc]. You must say certain things or do certain things if you want God to bless you or answer your prayers. You must go through this person or that, in order to receive God’s grace. You must deny yourself this or that; pray at this time or that time, in this way. All these techniques are antagonistic to The Gospel and to the whole of Bible Doctrine.

If you believe your works / behaviors / words are what bring about spiritual blessings, you have it exactly backward and you are still dead in your sin! In addition, it is a very dangerous practice….summoning demons to work for you.

Biblical Meditation

Do you meditate upon The Word of God? Biblical Meditation is the direct opposite of what the world thinks of, when it considers meditation. When the term ‘meditate’ or ‘meditation’ is used, today, it is a reference to Eastern Meditation. Eastern Meditation is a technique for ‘releasing the fully divine inner man.’ [Maharishi Mahesh Yogi — the man credited with introducing Transcendental Meditation to America] The goal / purpose of Eastern Meditative Techniques is shut off the conscious ‘mind’ in order to merge with your higher self.

The Mantras used are facilitating a self-hypnosis. Hypnosis is when our conscious mind is relaxed. In this state, the person is no longer in control of what they think, believe or do. We’ve seen hypnotists who employ post-hypnotic suggestions to help people overcome fears or habits. On stage, these folks can be convinced they love snakes or that when certain words are spoken, they are to quack like a duck…..and they do! What’s happening?

What’s happening is that ‘another mind’ is making decisions for this person, while their own mind is disarmed. We all experience this in sleep. The experts tell us that, in sleep, we alternate between a deep sleep and what they call Rapid-Eye-Movement [REM] sleep. In the REM state, we are cycling into an altered state of consciousness: not awake, not fully asleep. It is here we dream. And we all know dreams can be very strange: mixing all sorts of experiences, ideas, sights, sounds, etc., together in order to produce very strange and scary dreams.

This is our mind, out of personal control. Elements of what is being called ‘church’ are using Eastern techniques in worship, in order to connect with God in new and more satisfying ways. This is Mysticism, NOT Christianity! Also, Christians are being drawn into Eastern Meditative Techniques through the mind-science of Yoga, T.M. and a number of other types of self-hypnosis. It does not occur to them that when they ‘shut off’ their mind, ‘Another Mind’ is then free to influence them in ways they do not even know. All they know is they feel better after meditating for 20 minutes a day.

Eastern Meditation came to America in the early 1970’s, in the guise of Transcendental Meditation, brought to us by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. T.M. was viewed as having marvelous physical and emotional benefits. In a very few years, it gained in popularity and acceptance to the point where school districts were adding it to the exercises children were required to do. Parents and others objected and T.M. seemed to go away. In about 5 years or so, it returned as a Mind-Science. Under this guise it was quietly accepted and has spawned a veritable cottage industry of meditative systems.

As with most things, Americans failed to read what the Yoga Master had written: “Man is divine. The inner man is fully divine.” Meditation [any of the 7 types] is designed to set the conscious man aside in order to release the fully divine, inner man. Each of the seven types, called paths, lead to enlightenment and New Human Reality: Being One With Our Inner Self. Today, the most popular type is Yoga.

The word itself, means ‘yoke’ or ‘unity.’ Bhole Prabhu says of it: “The purpose of yoga is to unite / yoke us with our highest nature.” Apparently our consciousness; our physical reality, interferes with this goal. [Bhole Prabhu lived in the Himalayas, and was a yogi, poet, and philosopher renowned as an original thinker.] Ravi Singh and Ana Brett are Yoga Teachers and Instructors to the stars. In their book: Thoughts On Yoga & Relationships, they say: “It seems to us that relationship is as much a spiritual path as life in a monastery because every day your ego gets tested and opportunities for growth abound. There is also, of course, great joy and peace to be found in the loving continuum of life with another.”

It appears Eastern Meditative Techniques are personal and relational. The meditator is brought into relationship with the inner self and others who are in contact with their inner self: the fully divine, inner man. This is powerful, especially considering how easily it lends itself to demonic influence, as the practitioner is encouraged to lower his/ her mental defenses and ‘join’ with ‘the divine.’

William Johnson wrote “Silent Music,” in 1975. In this book he warned of increased psychic power, while in this altered state of consciousness. He cited testimonies of meditators being confronted by non-human entities, both good and bad; ghoulish creatures materialized periodically, to stare terrifying expressions at participants. Former T.M. Instructor, R.D. Scott [Occult Invasion pg. 224], reported that often, more than one person saw “the same procession of spirt creatures simultaneously and without any advance warning.”

That Christians and Churches can embrace this technique, calling it biblical meditation, begs a few questions: Are these really Christians? Do they know and/or understand The Bible? Do they care that not everything in this world is right and/or good? The Meditation God advocates [requires?] is completely opposite the popular forms. It is instructive, convicting, strengthening and conditioning. The human heart is easily swayed by all things earthly, sensual and emotionally gratifying.

Biblical Meditation is God’s program for spiritual stability and renewal. Biblical Meditation teaches us things we wouldn’t know, otherwise, as it slows us down and focuses our mind and heart in ways other instructional forms do not. After the death of Moses, God promised Joshua that if the people of God were to meditate upon The Law, day and night, that He would ‘make their way prosperous,” and that they would “have good success.” [Josh. 1:8] The goal was to “observe to do according to all that is written therein.” They were to talk about it, think about it, teach it to their children and live it in front of the nations round-about. The biblical word: meditate, means to murmur, ponder, ruminate upon.

Ruminating is what cows do when they are chewing the cud. In doing so, they were ‘observing to do…’ To observe is to guard, protect, take heed of, keep, preserve. In return the people would have “good success” and a “prosperous way.” To prosper is to give skill, have understanding, guide wittingly. To be “prosperous” is to break out, be profitable, cause to be profitable. “Good success” is to be circumspect and therefore intelligent, expert, prudent, understanding, wise, being guided wittingly. Here is God’s promise to give them everything they need: Land, Success, Prosperity.

In return for remaining true to God’s Word, as delivered by Moses. One of the key means by which they would stay focused is through meditation upon God’s Word, day and night! The Old Testament account paints the picture: Gen. 24:63 Isaac was in the field at eventide, meditating, when the servant rode up with Rebekah, Isaac’s yet unseen bride. The narrative implies a normalcy about this practice, by not explaining it.

 As we have already seen, God ordains meditation upon His promises as the “protector,” “strengthener,” “trigger” for what God would do. In the Psalms, we are told to meditate upon all of God’s works [77:12], His precepts (mandates) [119:15] and ion His statutes (appointed boundaries) [119:23]. Psalm 119:9f poses the question: “How shall a young man cleanse his ways?” Answer: “By taking heed to his way, according to God’s Word.” David’s testimony: “With my whole heart have I sought thee. Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against thee.” “Teach me Thy statutes, I have declared all God’s judgments; I have rejoiced in God’s Testimonies, as much as in all riches.” In this context, David speaks of meditation upon God’s mandates, having [regard with pleasure] unto God’s ways. In other Psalms it is the meditation of one’s heart that is sweet/glad in The Lord. This is the context for David’s meditation upon God’s Word.In Ps. 119:99, the promise is: “more understanding than all my teachers”

In the New Testament, the challenge is to a young Pastor Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth, but be an example to the believers, in word, in behavior, in self-sacrificial love, in spirit, in faith and in [chastity].” I Tim. 4:12 And, until I come, give attendance to the Reading of God’s Word, to exhortation, to doctrine. do not be careless/negligent in the gift [the religious qualification] that was conferred upon you, by the laying on of hands by the [estate of elders].

Meditate [revolve in the mind] upon these things; give thy self wholly to them; that thy profiting may be obvious to all. 4:13-15 v. 16 Pay attention to thyself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in so doing [both of them] thou shalt both protect and preserve thyself, and those that hear you [in your teaching & preaching].

The value of biblical meditation cannot be understated and should not be underestimated. It focuses the mind on Heaven, when earth threatens to drag us down. It washes out the “dirt,” resets the mind and re-orients the heart. So! How Do We Meditate Upon God’s Word? We take a passage [a verse or part thereof] and read it for understanding We, then consider what it is this passage reveals Taking more time, we repeat it and ponder it We may memorize it We ruminate upon it To slow us down and further imprint the words upon our heart, we read the passage through, many times.

Each time we emphasize the next word, so that by the time we’ve finished, we know what this verse is about. When we’re done, we pray that verse back to God, hopefully with conviction and a new appreciation for what God has done. Over time we will know more, remember more and apply more of God’s Word than we would have, by almost any other method: the words and concepts burned into our hearts. Some passages bring instruction, others comfort, hope and/or peace. Over time our hearts are inclined toward God and away from the world, so we have less worry, fear, disappointment and more joy.



Answers To This Weeks’ Test [Tweets]

Dec 2012 Gallup Poll — 77% of Americans Self-Identify as Christian. Here’s A Test For That 77%

1. What is a Christian?  A person who has 1. heard The Gospel, 2. Repented of their sin, 3. Believed on The Lord Jesus Christ

2. Who is Jesus?  The Incarnate God of Heaven.  The Promised Messiah.  The Only Begotten Son of God.  The Last Adam.  Our Redeemer, King

3. What is The Gospel?  You are a sinner, by birth!  You are condemned, as a result!  Jesus bore your penalty; Paid you price.  Repent & Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved [from the wrath to come].

4. What is The Bible? The Inspired, Infallible, Inerrant Word of God!

5. What is The Church? The Bride of Christ, made up of all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. A local expression of that Bride, on Earth.

6. What gifts has God given The Church?  Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-Teacher    Eph. 4

7. What is the purpose of those gifts?  To equip the saints for the work of ministry   Eph. 4

8. What is the Christian’s Primary Responsibility?  To Love God; To Love others; To keep himself unspotted from the world!       This one is controversial, due to the many Bible verses that explain / define our responsibility. I chose this one for it’s Basic Appeal.

9. Where does The Bible & Science disagree?  Nowhere!  Science is based on Observation.  No one ‘observed’ Creation, nor is there anything in or on the Earth that definitively points to a Natural Evolution. Both reside in the category of ‘belief’ — which is to say: Religion.

10. What happened on The Cross? And who did that to Jesus?  Jesus bore our sin in His body!  The Father laid that on Him, during those 3 awful hours of darkness.