"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine."Titus2,1
"If anybody does not remain in the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he does not have God with him: only those who remain in what he taught can have the father and the Son with them. 10 If anyone comes to you bringing a different doctrine [ie no incarnation], you must not receive him into your house.." 2John vv9-10
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing." Revelation3,15-16.
Doctrine Is Not A Bad Thing
We live in the last church age, the Laodicean, where wealth and lukewarmness reign. Bible commentators tell us that this lukewarmness metatphor derives how the water would arrive by way of an aqueduct from hotsprings in Hierapolis seven miles north of Laodicea. Or, the water would arrive from the cold waters from mountain streams seven miles away in Colossae from the south. But by the time it got to Laodicea it was lukewarm, neither hot or cold (cf John MacArthur, MacArthur's New Testament Commentary Revelation, Chapters1-11, Moody, 1999 and cf Andrew LePeau, andyunedited.ivpress.com, citing "Misreading Scripture Through Western Eyes, 2012).
So the hot or cold water of these other two cities was acceptable to Jesus, but the Laodicean water, ie its faithful, were neither. They were useless, about to be spit out.
Another aspect of this lukewarmness in this last church age is our attitude towards sound doctrine. The "sound doctrine" biblical standard of Titus2,1 (to be passed down to the next genration, Psalm78,5-6) has given way to prosperianity, pastorianity, churchianity, pet doctrines, bankable dogmas, and slogans.
Lukewarmness is also what happens when our pet doctrines are too far from the consuming fire of God or from the cool living waters of Jesus (John7,37-39).
Many of us know what it feels like to be out of the flow of a churches' pet doctrines. Same topics, same people, same voices, and it's not that some of them don't come from God, but what's the rest of the story?
What about prophets and apostles and evangelists?
When I came to the faith, one of my greatest joys was experiencing a fellowship with folks across the world, not just with my parochial set or with the kinfolk of the elders board. I was in relationship with a vast new world of "brothers" and "sisters." Having enjoyed this initial taste of our one faith, I still want the whole prophetic story of God's salvation for all peoples.
Even as a baby Christian, I knew that that balm of Gilead was not just for Gilead.
I think we get lukewarm from the 'same old same old' in "my" church.
The awesome thing about our faith and its biblical doctrine is that it all comes from God himself, the same bountiful and ever living new "water" source. And He doesn't play favorites-the same rules and regulations and blessings and responsibilities, and the same vast love and mercy applies for everybody! I like that.
It sounds fair to me.
Is your church fair in the way it presents the whole gospel?
And besides, his word, the source of our doctrine, is living and active. It still speaks, shapes and opens even the hardest hearts. "What He's done for others he'll do for you" as the song says.
But when we get fearful and parochial and turf conscious, our ignorance and our selfishness obscure the power and breath His doctrine. This is when we get lukewarm.
Don't Get Defensive- It's His Doctrine
Some folks hear the word "doctrine" and they get defensive and balky. On the other hand, some chuches try to have less and less, all the way down to today's little slogan.
I'm preaching about doctrine today and some gimlet eyed denizens might be listening and think old brother Tobin has too much of it. I don't like it much more than you do, but Christianity is a 2000 year old movement and therefore has a historical doctrinal reality from the bible. So we are not allowed to make it up now as we go along, or cut out all the stuff we don't like.
And four hundred years after the Reformation, "Luther alone" or "the Roman Church right or wrong" does not suffice for a biblically based Christianity.
We don't need more or less doctrine, just what's in the book. And we don't need to be defensive about doctrine, because the world is full of bibles these days. All you have to do is read one.
The source of all our biblical doctrine is Jesus, the Word. His doctrine is in His word no where else. Yes there are some difficult things, but not so much that we have to start multiplying teachings, or cutting out parts that we're lukewarm about.
Jesus is never lukewarm about any of His word and His salvation, not about the 1100 items of the law or "it's better to give than receive" in the New Testament. God is always the burning bush, the "I am who am", the everliving one, raining down tongues of fire into his people.
Or he is always cool refresing waters, living waters (John7,37-39).
He's not lukewarm.
I'm going to preach the ten initial biblical pillars of sound doctrine, pillars of fire so to speak, that guided the initial Christian movement safely into its second generation.This is to seek a coherent set of doctrine, and to help us take the big view of scripture, not just snippets of what Jesus and the apostles said, half a verse here half a verse there.
It's tempting to just preach the little half verses, stringing them together, pulling them out of a hat, and conjuring up whatever our itching ears want to hear. Simon Magus wanted to buy the Holy Ghost in a bottle (Acts8,18), but it was only with a coherent set of accepted doctrines, and of course the grace of God, that the initial church took root in a world that was so hostile to it.
A God given coherent set of biblical doctrines is one of the reasons the church survived.
I'm going to quote some of these doctrines from Paul's letter to Titus, not that they aren't found elsewhere in scripture. This might seem random, using a neglected three chapter letter to Paul's lesser known, second generation protoge and apostle to talk about the biblical pillars of the intitial church doctrine.
Because this letter reveals a biblical transition point from the first generation Apostles, all of whom were Jews, and their first gospel teachings, and the second generation of Apostles like Timothy and Titus who were charged with teaching and implementing the whole of sound doctrine. This whole of sound doctrine also included pastoral and church matters, like choosing local elders, order in the church, peace with outsiders and civil authorities, and protecting the whole of sound doctrine in the future (1Timothy4,6, "the truths of faith"; 2Timothy1,14: "guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you.." 1Timothy6,20: "Guard the deposit entrusted to you.." ), after Paul was gone.
Titus is better than 1 and 2 Timothy for two reasons. First, there was none of the drama of "silencing" women in worship (which grew out of the entrenched local Ephesian cult of Artemis, more on that in pillar n. 6 below).
Secondly, Titus' status as a gentile (Timothy's mom was Jewish) clearly marks some sort of end or change from the initial apostolic class of the 12 ordinary apostles. All these were Jewish as was Paul, the thirteenth, the 'outside the ordinary course' apostle. But Titus was a gentile brought to the faith by the Apostle Paul in Galatia, and Paul did not even compel Him to be circumcized (Galatians2,3).
So it's worth reflecting a moment on Titus. Here is a Greek man, having been charged to be an Apostle in a church founded by the king of the Jews, with a faith born out of the Hebrew bible and the Jewish faith. This step to a gentile as a second generation apostle is quite a step of "progress", a man not even circumcized is to serve as a leader of Christian Jews. And he's mature enough to appoint local pastors, and also charged with defend a coherent set of accepted "Christian" doctrines.
This "sound doctrine" (Titus2,1) rooted our church in its true faith, when it very easily could have dissapeared as just another parochial Jewish sect or been wiped out amidst the hostility that the early church faced in the Greco Roman world.
This type of doctrine is still needed in the true church today, for rootedness and for obedience to the whole of God's word.
So doctrine is not such a bad thing (I like it- I'm sort of wondering why we don't have more of it, say the Book of Enoch, so we'd have more doctrine about the nature of evil).
Thanks be to God for all the biblical doctrine that we do have. For example, the initial church doctrine at the Jerusalem Council (Acts15), where everybody spoke up and the local Apostle James ruled, was that gentiles did not have to get circumcized to be Christians.
In other words, you didn't have to become a Jew to become a Christian.
The initial church doctrine that took the place of Hebrew circumcision was faithful adult baptism:
"But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, locked up to wait for the faith that would eventually be revealed to us. So the Law was serving as a slave to look after us, to lead us to Christ, so that we would be justified by faith. But now that faith has come we are no longer under a slave looking after us, for all of you are children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus, since every one of you that has been baptized has been clothed in Christ. There can be neither Jew or Greek, there can be neither slave or freeman, there can be neither male or female- for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (JB Galatians3,23-28)
This personal faith baptism doctrine gave the church a demographic reach and longevity beyond any one culture, or nation. It gave the movement and it's adherents a personal and new rootedness in Jesus, through the covenantal use of His Name in baptism(http://www.zionpentecostmission.com/one-baptism-one-eternal-covenant-with-Jesus.html).
Pillars Of Doctrine Hold Up The Church
The Lord told me recently, when I got all worked up about doctrine, that hearing and obeying his voice is more important than anything, like Mary Magdalen knew the voice of her risen savior, praise Jesus, on the day He rose.
But hearing His voice will confirm the doctrine from his inspired word.
So doctrine is a good thing. It protects and explains our personal and free choice to enter into a covenant with Jesus.
Before I left a dogmatic church, I realized that man made dogmas and doctrines do not define of our biblical faith. Dogmas and policy manuals protect churches and their finanacial turf and their politics. Personal faith is different. It is confidently acting on the written promises of God again and again (Gene Scott). Personal faith is what we carry as individuals and then apply to what the the bible promises and teaches. Dogma is what churches utter and use to define their own brands, and "improve" scripture as if that were possible. But the word itself is our only "dogma." It doesn't need man made decrees to defend itself, or explain itself, or to protect it.
With some study, and the Holy Ghost, the New Testament scripture defends and explains itself, so long as we continually receive it by the Holy Ghost, John 8,31 (NASB): "If you continue in my word then you are my disciples indeed." And when it is continually received by personal faith and Holy Ghost inspiration, and going back to its orginal context, before the Protestant Reformation and before all the Roman political compromises that began in the fourth century, we can all see and understand these New Testament pillars of doctrine for ourselves.
So, I'm going to preach the ten pillars of initial church doctrine today. A "church" might still remain standing and operational missing one or two of these pillars, but would it be a biblically based?
You can decide that for yourselves.
1. Acts2,36: Jesus is both Lord (God!) and messiah of Israel, ie God and man.
This summarizes Peter's inspired understanding of the risen Jesus per Pslam16,8-11 [Jesus was not abandoned to Hades] and Psalm110,1 [Jesus as King David's eternal successor, His Lord, seated at the right hand of God] and Jesus' outpouring of Holy Spirit on Pentecost as proof that he was God:
"For this reason [His resurrection] the whole House of Israel can be certain that the Lord and Christ [God and man] whom God has made is this Jesus whom you crucified."
The most famous verse regarding His incarnation is John1,14: "The Word [God] became flesh, and he lived among us."
Some folks and leaders wanted to back track on this first pillar of church doctrine. They argued that Jesus was a mere man or perhaps an angel. This is the crisis issue of 1-3 John, especially noted at 1John4,2 and 1John2,23 and 2John1,7, the last of which is especially vehement:
"Many deceivers who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out onto the world [leaders who left the church, or, more likely, forced out]. Any such person is a deceiver and the antichrist."
This doctrine of the "incarnation" is radical. It demands a supernatural birth. Some Jewish Christian leaders initially accepted it, but then went back to the Mosiac law as their salvation (cf http://latterain.com/church/cerin.htm).
Or, they may have backtracked on this doctrine under the weight of their own immorality. If Jesus was just a man or an angel, as these apostates and false teachers claimed, rather than God in the flesh who died in the flesh for our fleshly sins, they could arguably keep their leadership in the church, their status as "Christians" while living according to the the world.
1John2,18 brands these false apostles as "antichrists" and verse 22 as "liars."
Antichrists because they are against the incarnated Jesus, who died in the flesh, and shed God's human blood to atone for sins of mankind.
They are "liars" because they are denying a truth that they all knew since the day of Pentecost.
If Jesus, God and man, didn't die in the flesh, if God didn't shed his blood and wash us clean, then we are still stuck in our sins. Our faith is precious because we have been washed by His precious incarnated blood.
Thus, the incarnation is the first pillar of our biblical faith.
2. Adult water baptism with personal faith.
Titus3,5-6: "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, who he poured out on us generously though Jesus Christ.
I've preached adult water baptism under may different titles, and recently as an essential biblical intiation of our personal covenant with Jesus. Baptism in Jesus Name is the visible sign that we have died to ourselves and that we seek the seal of Holy Ghost baptism (Acts 2,38). It is a vital covenantal act, just as circumcision was for the Hebrew biblical covenants. It is usually the first part of our "one baptism" (which includes per Acts2,38 Spirit baptism, Ephesians4,3), and identifies us publicly as in a personal covenant with Jesus.
As we heard above in Galatians 3, personal faith adult water baptism (different than infant circumcision) is how we become one in Jesus, how we are unified in Him. It is one of the two major action items of our Christian initiation and covenant, the other being pillar number 10, partaking of the Lord's Supper.
3. We are saved by God's grace and our response in faith.
Titus2,11: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."
Jesus! has appeared to all men.
We are saved by grace, by His gracious coming to us, by his incarnation, and by our personal faith response, which invites Him into us.The Mosaic law doesn't save. Works don't save. Adult baptism in Jesus Name is an act of personal faith (or not) that calls down God's grace (or not) if done with that personal faith, just as the dove descended on Jesus and identified Him as God's Son, by way of His personal faith.
Jesus saves and justifies by way of His grace and mercy, and our personal response, our "Yes and Amen" to Him.
We are born again of the incorruptibe supernatural or graceful seed of faith: "Being born again not of corruptible seed; but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." 1Peter1,23
But for this divine seed planted by God to remain in us and bear fruit, unto Holy Ghost baptism, unto final perseverance we are called to live a life of faith that does not include the practice of unrepentant sin: "A child of God does not sin because the divine seed remains in Him." (NEB) 1John3,9.
4. Hyper-asceticism against marriage and about diet is unacceptable and useless.
Titus 1,14: "and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure."
This 'reject the truth' again sounds like a backtracking on the incranation, now coupled with false and deceptive asceticisms about diet and mandatory celibacy:
Colossians2,20 says such asceticisms are of no value and useless for restraining sensual indulgence in matters of eating and sex:
"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of the world, why as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to it's rules: 21 'Do not handle! Do not touch!? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their false humility and their hardsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."
1Timothy4,1-3 is even more blunt:
"The Spirit has explicitly said that during the last times some will desert the faith and pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from devils, seduced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are branded as though with a red hot iron: 3 they forbid marriages and prohibit foods which God created to be accepted with thanksgiving by all who believe and who know the truth."
Yes, our biblical faith as Christians stems and builds upon the Hebrew Scriptures ("All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching..." 2Timothy3,16), but believers are not required, and cannot require others, to live the Mosaic law or practice special ascetical regimes. To do so is the doctrine of demons, and invites hypocrisy and courts a seared and deceptive conscience, and unhealthy church life.
Titus reaffirms this doctrine and 1,14 hints at what 1-3 John taught openly- that the incarnation was the fault line that catapulted believers into the new covenant or made others backtrack ("reject the truth") to the Mosaic Law and or hyperasceticism for their justification.
Hyperasceticism against marriage is false doctrine not only because it doesn't work, but it also inhibits the free and transparent mission of the gospel.
5. Christians are holy servants.
Titus1,1-2: "From Paul, servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion. 2 and to give them the hope of the eternal life that was promised long ago by God."
Holy Servants, not experts.
Servants of salvation, not hierarchical lords.
Servants of the salvation promised by the prophets, Isaiah11.
Servants that help connect, or re tie God's people to their living God, not wordly philosophers tying them to man made doctrines.
Servants of people in need of salvation not dilettantes picking and choosing what we like about God's word and ways.
In Paul's noble servant's tone here, we are reminded that two characteristics define biblical servants:
1) their holiness like Joseph and Samuel and Jesus and Mary and Joseph: "make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see God" (Hebrews12,14); and
2) Their perseverance as in the words of the Apostle Paul: "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith." (2Timothy4,7)
6. Christianity is egalitarian.
It doesn't matter our race or gender or age or culture or nationality or whether rich or poor- there is a supernatural based equality of the faithful that comes from the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Three prime biblical examples:
a. 1Peter2,5 and 9: universal priesthood or royal priesthood, aka "the priesthood of the faithful" (those who have the One Baptism) not of the ordained.
Jesus never ordained anyone a priest. He did appoint the apostles (John15,16), but only Holy Ghost baptism, God's holiness, makes us all priests.
Folks were perhaps ordained to a specific office in the church (Ephesians4,10-11; 2Timohty2,15; 1Timomothy5,22; 1Timothy1,12; Acts6,3), but not to any new priesthood which comes by way of the holiness of Holy Ghost baptism.
b. 1Coinrinthians11,5: women publicly prayed and prophesied in worship at Corinth so long as under husband's authority.
c. In Christ, after adult baptism in the One name of Jesus, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians3,28).
At the relatively nearby church of Ephesus the women "teaching" were silenced. Paul declares "I do not permit a woman to teach." 1Timothy2,11-12. Apparently, Timothy allowed it, so Paul diplomatically states, and pulls rank, by saying "I do not permit women to teach."
The silencing of women in Ephesus was likely a localized problem of false prophesy, or false teaching such as the seducing spirits that forbad marriage (1Timothy4,1-3) and spreading this bad doctrine (1Timothy5,3), according to the local Ephesian false cult of Artemis that totally marginalized men, and built upon a thousand years of virginal priestesses (http://www.zionpentecostmission.com/men-should-preach-and-women-too.html). Moreover, the unsilent women were perhaps gender separtists, perhaps meeting as a satellite church without men: 1Timothy2,8: "In Every place, then, I want men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer..." (http://www.zionpentecostmission.com/discernment-or-silence.html)
So Paul had to step in.
But in the letter to Titus, on the island of Crete, off the coast of Ephesus, in the same Greco Roman culture, Paul also writes another "pastoral" letter concerned with the whole of sound doctrine (Titus 2,1): "Virtually everything that Paul wrote in Titus about the false teaching in Crete parallels what he said in 1 and 2Timothy..." (Joseph R. Nally, "Overview of the Book of Titus" http://thirdmill.org/answers/answer.asp/file/41731).
Everything but silencing women in public worship.
If this silencing was a pillar of sound doctrine for the whole church, and not a localized problem of false prophesy in Ephesus, Paul would also likely mentioned this in his letter to Titus.
The Christian movement is egalitarian in its priesthood-holiness, in its prayer and prophesy and worship, and its adult baptism unto unity in Christ.
Yes the New Testament does not defend or propose women teaching as pastors, but the first evangelists were the women at the empty tomb, and we know nothing of the biblical exclusion of women from the offices of prophet, evangelist and we do know that women were prophesying at Corinth and at least one, Pheobe, was serving as a deaconess at Cenchreae in Rome (Romans16,2)
To evade the tone setting doctrine of initial biblical egalitarianism, based on localized gender difficulties in Ephesus, contradicts both Jesus' example and His whole word, and blunts Judeo Christianity's accordance of equality of personhood to women (Genesis1,27).
7. The outlook of Christianity is outward.
Matthew28,18-20: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and 20 teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of the world."
Two things stand out here.
First, our doctrine includes the fact that Jesus has shared his authority with us. This power and authority from Him and the Holy Ghost is the best fuel for teaching and making disciples of Him, not our own power. Without him we won't be able to anything when it comes to making disciples (cf John15,5).
Secondly, we clearly see that Jesus orders us to teach folks "to observe all the commands I gave you." Our faith is a set of His commands, not just one or two, or a slogan, or cutting out the parts we don't like, or making up our own.
8. Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet.
Prophets speak to the priorities of God no matter what men say or do. Apocalyptic prophets unveil the end time truths of judgment, salvation, and eternal life.
Jesus fulfilled God's promise of Deuteronomy18,18 to raise up a prophet like Moses, but also one who they would not be able to ignore. This prophet would be their judge. The Apostle Peter quickly identified Jesus as this prophet at Acts3,23: "Anyone who refuses to listen to that prophet shall be cut off from the people."
Some of Jesus' priorities are our personal and repentant faith, the coming judgement followed by the kingdom and the Millenial Rule, the just inheriting the earth, all of which he prophesied would happen within one generation from the time that Jesus lived.
"But no man knows the day and the hour." (Matthew24,36).
Our New Testament, as do the Hebrew scriptures, unveil the endtime priorities of Jesus in mysterious and the seemingly strange ways of apocalypticism, through wars and rumors of war, through plagues and famine, through the destruction of the environment (Revelation11,18), through an Armageddon of the gentile nations against and surrounding Israel, through the the rise and rule of the Antichrist (Revelation13), and other dense mysteries of the Books of Revelation and Daniel and others.
Christianity and its doctrines were born amidst the ongoing furor of an apocalyptic and existential threat to Israel, occupations first by the Babylonians, then the Greeks, and at the time of Jesus, by the Romans.
We Christians believe that a final empire will arise in the end, led by an eighth king (Revelation17,11) a revived worldly empire, that will wage war on Israel (and likely Christians), and again create an existential threat that will make men wonder 'Who is like the beast? and "Who can fight against the Beast?" (Revelation13,1-9)
There is an unmistakeable dualistic quality to our apocalyptic Christian doctrine: the world or Babylon versus the millenial kingdom and Israel (Revelation17 and 18).
Heaven and Hell.
Light versus darkness: "The Light sines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it." John1,5
The world the devil and the flesh (Ephesians2,2-3a) versus the people of God, our savior Jesus, and His Spirit.
We are seeing this endtime dualistic battle unveil before our eyes, and yet this apocalyptic-prophetic pillar of our initial biblical doctrine, is the one we perhaps know the least about.
But we take courage in the prophecy of Zechariah at 14,5: "And Yahweh my God will come, and all the holy ones with him."
And Zechariah14,9: "Then Yahweh will become King of the whole world. When that day comes, Yahweh will be the one and only and His name the one name."
9. Healing is part of the New Covenant.
Jesus' first act of public ministry was in the synogogues of Galilee and at Nazareth. Luke4,18-19 tells us that his first text from Isaiah61,1-2 was about personal healing and deliverance as national healing and deliverance:
"The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord."
To bring good news to the broken hearted and those who are in any way "sick."
Luke 4,35 continues with a deliverance of somebody who was full of demons. "Come out of him!" Jesus said.
1Peter2,24 picks up on the idea of the healing powers of the suffering servant messiah according to Isaiah53,4-5:
"He was bearing our sins in his own body on the cross, so that we might die to our sins and live for uprightness; through his bruises you have been healed."
Isaiah53,4-5: "Yet ours were the sorrows ["sicknesses" Young's Literal Translation] he was carrying, while we thought of him as someone being punished, and struck with affliction by God; whereas he was wounded for our rebellions, crushed because of our guilt; the punishment reconciling us fell on him, and we have been healed by his bruises."
By His stripes we wrere healed!
Psalm103,3: "He forgives all your offences, cures all your diseases." (JB)
The salvation and deliverance of Jesus brings all manner of healing, spiritual, emotional, physical, relational-you name any type of healing- Jesus' stripes paid for it.
His wounds, his blood, even frees us from the generational curses passed down in families, 1Peter1,18-19: "for you know that the price of your ransom from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors was paid not in anything persihable like silver or gold,, but in the precious blood as of a blameless and spotless lamb." (JB)
If you haven't gotten some sort of His healing yet, try Jesus' brand of salvation, his toda shalom, his peace, his reconciliation. It includes healing and deliverance, which usually precedes baptism in the Holy Spirit. In fact, baptism in the Spirit is itself a type of healing, restoring our humanity to to the image and likeness of God according to Genesis1,27.
Right here in Luke 4 we know healing was the first thing he preached in the synogogues, from Isaiah 61, and then the first thing he did.
Supernatural faith based healing is one of the doctrinal pillars of the initial church.
10. The Lord's Supper is important and ratifies our personal covenant with Jesus.
Last time on the Preaching hour ("Our One Baptism Essential to Personal Covenant With Jesus" parts 1 and 2) we listed Ken Kessler's eight steps to ancient covenant making.
We learned from that study (published by Lifeschool International, 2009) that ancient covenants are really serious contracts to be walked out unto death.
The last step of making the covenat is a ritual meal where the participants share the one cup of wine, or wine mixed with their own blood.
Jesus' last supper as depicted in Matthew26,26-28 and Mark 14,22-24 and 1Corinthians11,23-25 is Jesus' final covenantal act before his death, before his physically shed his blood. The Apostles and folks in Corinth, as we do now, all drink out of the same cup, and by doing so we are saying to Jesus "I agree to your terms Jesus."
"I agree to follow you and your teachings."
"I agree that you are my only Lord and savior."
"I agree that it is only your blood on Calvary washes me."
Luke is the lone Gentile author in the New Testament and his rendition of Jesus instituting the Last Supper goes out of the way to make the point that this supper ratifies this new covenant. Luke wants to make sure that nobody thinks the Lord's supper is just the Seder passover, celebrating the miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery, but rather a new covenant passover, sealed in Jesus' blood.
So at Luke22,14-19 he institutes the supper, in similar fashion to Matthew and Mark, and he "gave thanks", that is he actually blessed the wine filled cup and the bread (as 1Corinthians10,16 makes clear). And they likely ate this blessed bread and drank the blessed wine.
But then verse 20 is curious: "He did the same with the cup after supper, and said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you."
Here Luke goes out of his way to emphasize that when we Christians take the cup we are ratifying a totally new and important covenant with God.
Perhaps he did this because he realized that gentiles would be less likely to understand the covenantal aspect of the cup and wanted to make sure that everyone, Jew and Gentile, realizes that it is by drinking from it we are ratifying our personal covenant with Jesus.
For thirty eight bible teachings on the Lord's Supper: http://www.zionpentecostmission.com/the-lords-supper/
These Ten Served The Church Well And Worth Revisiting
These ten initial biblical pillars of the Christian movement served our faith forbears well. Along with God's grace they planted a movement that did not waver or bow. Instead they clung to the Word for about three hundred years after Jesus rose from the dead.
Wouldn't it be grand if those who have multiplied and accumulated their doctrines to fit the political and philosophical needs of successive eras of church history, and those who of late have reduced Christianity to slogans were willing to start afresh with these ten sound intitial biblical doctrines?
The church might not be as popular, but perhaps healthier, and more ready, to meet our Lord face to face in the salvation we all claim.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...