Alêtheia Christian Fellowship (Sermon 51, 01-02-05)
Happy New Year! ****We’re going places this year****
Outreach…. Nursing/Assisted Living, Samaritan, Hope
Communion Service today.
Jan 9th Birthday Party & Testimony & Baptism
Jan 16th Love wheel & Baptism
Tuesday evening activities start in two days, Jan 4th
Medi-Share outreach to Tsunami victims.
Offering – King’s Kids –
Yeast**** we figure out what we believe, then understand why we believe it and this determines how we conduct our lives.
The bottom line is that first, each person must figure out what it is that they are going to believe.
Our belief always starts with a foundation upon which we build. I want a strong foundation because no matter how well I build my structure, if it has a bad foundation, the whole building is kako>v.
It doesn’t matter what you call your beliefs, a rose by any other name…. In religious circles we use the term Doctrine. It simply means those propositions you hold to be true.
So you can see that, doctrine is paramount, because it is what you base your actions on. We all have doctrine whether we recognize it or not.
Last week I talked with the second person in as many months who was highly educated and seemingly intelligent and rational. Both of these men were proud to be atheists.
In actual fact neither was smart enough to realize that they were actually taking the benefits of atheism and combining it with the benefits of agnosticism. Nevertheless, they felt that if there was an intelligent force behind the scenes it was an uncaring higher power.
Why uncaring? An uncaring force doesn’t want anything from you, but remember an uncaring force can’t possibly want anything for you either!
I explained that science cannot answer the questions, but rather propose theories as fact.
They told me they were more comfortable believing what intelligent, educated scientists propose than believing in some superstition. When I told them science in the area of beginnings requires more faith than Christianity. They told me that they were not science majors, one was an English Major and the other Liberal Arts, and could not debate me on the subject.
****They both accept a foundation of belief through trust in science that neither of them knows anything about!****
The unexamined life is not worth living according to Socrates and I agree. I’m not nearly as interested in what people believe as I am in them knowing why they believe it.
*If your actions are not in conformity to your belief then you have deluded yourself as to what it is that you actually believe!
Alêtheia is no different from any individual, we hold certain Truths, as the Founding Fathers said, to be self-evident.
Our Formal Doctrinal Statement is in three parts:
We are convinced beyond question that God exists. However, we acknowledge that it is utterly impossible for finite creatures bound by space and time, to know anything about the infinite Creator who transcends all things unless He reveals Himself in some tangible way. Any such revelation must be concrete, universal and absolute or it would be indistinguishable from mere human subjective thought.
We begin our foundation with the idea that we exist and universe is a real place (Cogito Ergo Sum) and that we can know something about these things. We arrive at these conclusions because they fit with our experience and our reason and our heart.
Others come to completely different beliefs that seem to fit for them. How is that possible? This is why very well educated seemingly intelligent and rational people conclude that Truth must not actually exist and therefore either God does not exist or He’s unknowable.
The problem lies in putting the cart before the horse. Before you can understand the idea of knowledge or especially Truth you must recognize God. Now that seems like circular thinking, but actually it’s not.
L=AOA & Airfoil Shape X ½ Air Density (Air Pressure adjusted for Temperature) X Velocity Squared X Surface Area. Plenty of unbelievers and if they had won the day we would still be driving to Mexico. Others operated from belief instead of unbelief and now we can be stranded in an airport for 3 days after being strip-searched.
Anyone with any brains at all can quickly see that absolute and universal Truth can only come from a Truth-giver i.e. God. Remember Truth and facts are two entirely different things. Remember Indiana Jones? Therefore if one desires Truth one must get it from God which implies that you at least accept the possibility that He exists and that He would give you Truth.
This is the Gordian knot. You can’t get Truth until you believe. People don’t generally get to the point of belief until they are desperate. Until they have exhausted their resources they are functioning ok as their own God.
A) Each person must decide what their foundation is; Creator or creation.
B) If a creator then each person must decide if God wants a relationship. (kick the can)
C) If Relationship, is that relationship built upon revelation internal, external or both. (How can He relate? The Truth must be rational, testable, not refutable)
D) If internal we cannot apply that standard to anyone else, it is purely personal. (and must be tested)
E) If external it must either be partial Truth or it must be Truth for all. (Tested)
F) The Bible is the only external revelation that fits completely.
The Bible, literally from cover to cover, expounds the facts that:
1- All people know God exists and are therefore without excuse.
2- Truth is only found in God.
3- You cannot approach God and therefore His Truth in pride, but rather only through humble submission.
4- People are not inclined to be humble by nature. Belief
The first part of our doctrinal foundation says, in a nutshell, that God does exist and if people want to know anything of real importance we have to get it from God by His rules.
Part Two: We believe God has revealed Himself in this way through His perfect Word. The Bible is God's Word in written form inspired by the Holy Spirit and is a single cohesive and perfect revelation of God=s love for mankind. The overarching Biblical theme is the incarnation of the Word of God as Jesus Christ, who alone is able to bridge the chasm between God and man. The Bible, supernaturally created and sustained by Almighty God is therefore infallible in that it represents all that God desires it to be. It is the complete and non-negotiable Truth of the living God and as such is authoritative and relevant for every generation, person and situation.
As the Bible confirms the first proposition we carefully investigate what it says from the perspective of belief rather than unbelief. After extensive and ongoing research we conclude that the Bible is always in perfect harmony with our foundation and without a concrete revelation we discover God would not be who we know Him to be from our experience. If He desires relationship He has to relate!
This is where we separate ourselves from other God fearing people. It is this proposition which sets us apart and we don’t have the time to go into all the reasons we arrive at this position, but I will discuss it with anyone who would like to do so.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of grasping this point. Since we believe in the Bible just as it is available to us today that means we believe it’s Truth and that means that anything contradictory to it is therefore False.
Partial Truth is not Truth, it is as much a lie as it is Truth and we know that humans can never arrive at Truth because we can never agree. That’s the proof! Partial Truth exists all around us, but to try to glean it away from what is false is a huge mistake of pride.
Yet because we have the Bible, an Objective Litmus test we can filter anything through it and the good will remain.
How many people have told me I will pray about attending Alêtheia and then joyfully told me God had shown them that this was the place for them.
Part three simply confirms our high opinion of the Bible and the Bible alone: We believe that any doctrinal statement beyond this, while possibly correct, is nevertheless inappropriate. If the Word of God is clear on a point it is already doctrine from God so who are we to restate it? If on the other hand the Word of God in not clear on a point who are we to clarify it as God=s doctrine? Let God speak from His Holy Word as He determines without man adding or deleting, emphasizing or de-emphasizing, smoothing or distorting. Amen.
1- Not all Truth is contained in the Bible, but all Truth that is required by God is. So we’re not going to make a stand on anything outside of the Bible regardless of how we find it. No Papal decrees and no psychology today as doctrine.
2- Nothing false exists in the Bible that bears on Truth or doctrine.
3- Nothing exists in the Bible that is spiritually harmful, God holds us to the Truth contained in what we have available.
4- The Bible was always written in the plain everyday language of the people and should be first and foremost understood in it’s plain natural meaning that was easily understood by both the people who first wrote it and by us today as best we can.
5- The text must be understood in micro and macro context.
6- The text must be applied in the spirit of the whole of God’s Biblical revelation.
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Passover meal, gave out wine, gave thanks (Eucharist), broke bread during the meal, said this is my body, sang a last hymn (Psalms 118 wJsanna> from Hebrew YAW_SHAW_NAW save now!) My blood.
Justin Martyr 155ad E. Orthodox Jerusalem Synod 1672, Luther 100 years earlier consubstansiation.
The doctrine of the Church is that Holy Communion is morally necessary for salvation, that is to say, without the graces of this sacrament it would be very difficult to resist grave temptations and avoid grievous sin. Moreover, a Divine precept by which all are bound is to receive communion at least some times during life. How often this precept urges outside the danger of death it is not easy to say, but many hold that the Church has practically determined the Divine precept by the law of the Fourth Council of 1215 and confirmed by the council of Trent in 1551, which obliges the faithful to receive Communion once each year. The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is one who has received at least priestly orders. The Church honors the Eucharist as one of her most exalted mysteries, since for sublimity and incomprehensibility it yields in nothing to the allied mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation. These three mysteries constitute a wonderful triad, which causes the essential characteristic of Christianity as a religion of mysteries far transcending the capabilities of reason, to shine forth in all its brilliance and splendor, and elevates Catholicism, the most faithful guardian and keeper of our Christian heritage, far above all pagan and non-Christian religions.