Monday, March 25, 2013

Foundations #2: THE FUNDAMENTAL

I joined Foundations Class during last month. I posted the first part about the Gospel here. This is the second part about the fundamental. Hope you’ll be blessed!

The Need for Training
·         “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

·         None of us naturally seeks after God, none is inherently righteous, none instinctively does good (cf. Romans 3:9-18). Therefore, as children of grace, our spiritual discipline is everything-everything!” (R. Kent Hughes).
When Eric explained this, he also mentioned that love is hard, it never comes naturally. That’s definitely true. Sinners are against God, who is love. As redeemed people in Christ, we have the power to love, but still it does not come naturally. We need the spiritual discipline to seek after God, to learn how to love.

·         “The difference is one of motivation: legalism is self-centered; discipline is God-centered. The legalistic heart says, ‘I will do this thing to gain merit with God.’ The disciplined heart says, ‘I will do this thing because I love God and want to please Him’’’ (R. Kent Hughes).

Overview: (1) Vertical relationship       : Bible, Prayer;
                 (2) Horizontal relationship  : Church, Evangelism

·         The Bible is a believer’s: food (Deuteronomy 8:3), sword (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrew 4:12), and intake of Jesus (John 1:1,4; 5:39, 46; Luke 24:25-27, 44-45; 2 Corinthians 1:20).
The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Ghost is the chief means by which men are built up and established in the faith, after their conversion. It is able to cleanse them, to sanctify them, to instruct them in righteousness, and to furnish them thoroughly for all good works” [cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17].

How many times you need a food in a day? For me, I need at least three times a day, and if it is possible with some snacks those three times. Food is our primary need. How can we live without food? We need to eat. We need to consume the Word of God. I remember once Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of God and finish His work.” So, it does not stop by just having food, but also eat (doing God’s will and finish His work in and through us).

The Bible is also our sword. I never use it, never think that I need it, but when I was younger, I would like to “use sword” while playing a battle game on my brother’s Nintendo. “The sword” helped me to survive and even attacked the enemy to win the game! The similar thing goes with the Word of God as our sword. It helps us to survive and attack the enemy to gain the victory with Jesus! We do not fight against the flesh and the blood, but the evil one. Therefore, nothing is more powerful than God’s Words.

When explaining the Bible’s purpose, Eric also emphasized that relationship with God is the most fundamental. Ups! I often replaced it with only “Bible reading”, forgot that “relationship with God” requires more than just “reading your Bible”.

·         “You can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly because you cannot be profoundly influenced by that which you do not know. If you are filled with God’s Word, your life can then be informed and directed by God – your domestic relationships, your child-rearing, your career, your ethical decisions, your interior moral life” (R. Kent Hughes).
·         Daily Bible Reading
·         Memorization (will help you to remember God’s words for any situation)
·         Inductive Bible Study
·         Bible Study Workbooks
·         Meditation & Reflection (examine your life, repent)
·         Group Study & Discussion
·         Public Sharing & Explaining (the more you share, the more God’s Words firm in your life)

·        “God has called us into a relationship with Himself. Relationships require communication. Prayer is communication between a holy God and a beloved you and me” (Wycliffe).
·        “Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate, pouring out of the heart to soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to the Word of God, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God” (John Bunyan).
·        “While we ordinarily first bring our own needs to God in prayer, and then think of what belongs to God and his interests, the Master reverses the order. First Your name, Your kingdom, Your will; then give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us… In true worship the Father must be first, must be all” (Andrew Murray).
·        [Pray] at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
·        “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1)
·        Praise, Repentance, Ask, Yield
·        Informed from the Bible
·        Prayer List (help you to know what to pray)
·        Quiet Time (you need extended time to pray)
·        Continual and Persistent
·        For Obedience & Transformation
There was a good question that asked by a sister after Eric explained the fundamental of prayer.
Q: “I heard from some people that we should not say ‘good morning’ to God, because it means that we limit God in the context of time while He is unlimited.”
A: “I would say that if you really have an intimacy with God, you are not afraid to share something with Him. So, there’s no problem with saying ‘good morning’ to God.”

·        “The entire Christian life is about commitment-first and above all to Christ, but also to the Church, to family, to marriage, to friendship, to ministry. None of these will ever flourish apart from commitment” (R. Kent Hughes).
·        “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayer… And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).
·        “Through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places…to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:10,21).
·        [Pray] at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
·        “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
·        Worship
·        Hearing the Word
·        Lord’s Supper
·        Discipleship
·        Vision and Mission (church provides supernatural kind of vision/God’s vision)
·        Baptism
·        Spiritual Authority (discipline)
·        Regular Attendance
·        Membership
·        Giving
·        Participation
·        Love & Prayer

As Eric explained that there are universal church and local church. The universal church is consists of all the believers in the world at every time. The local church is the community of believers that committed to meet regularly in a local area. It is important to remember that God loves all churches. No church is perfect. Who are we that we judge other churches? Remember that the perfect one is the Christ, the church never be perfect. Therefore, church is not everything. Christ is everything.

EVANGELISM (share, preach, make disciples; it is not about you, but Jesus Christ)
·        “If you know Christ, you have the essential heart qualification to share him-even if you do not have all the answers. And the key to ongoing effectiveness is a perpetual freshness in your growing knowledge of Him” (R. Kent Hughes).
·        “Our problem in evangelism is not that we don’t have enough information-it is that we don’t know how to be ourselves. We forget we are called to be witnesses to what we have seen and know [Acts 4:20], not to what we don’t know. The key on our part is authenticity and obedience, not a doctorate in theology” (Rebecca Pippert).
·        “We must understand that we have a sovereign God who orders all of life, including our relationships, and that our friendships, as well as casual encounters, are not a list of social accidents. God has placed us in our particular families, neighborhoods, and workplaces for a reason: He has put us next to people He wants us to influence for Christ” (R. Kent Hughes).
·        “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
·        “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
·        Develop deeper intimacy with God (primary requirement!)
·        Connect & Contrast with the world
·        Identify & Invest in Relationships
·        Faith in the sufficiency of Christ

This part really rebuked me. I often think that evangelism is about me, a Christian, sharing and preaching the Gospel, even making disciples. It is true that we share, we preach, and make disciples, but it is NOT about us when we do it. It is about Jesus Christ that we know. It is about obeying the Lord’s authority over our lives. It is about trusting that He is a sovereign God that has a purpose in everything to save the sinners. Thanks to God, if I am able to evangelize people, it is not because I have enough theology BUT because the power that I receive as the Holy Spirit comes upon me. My part is to be ready to be sent, to preach so others will hear, then believe in Jesus Christ.

“Little hearts, though safe and protected, never contribute anything. No one benefits from their restricted sympathies and vision. On the other hand, hearts that have embraced the disciplines of ministry-though they are vulnerable-are also the hearts which possess the most joy and leave their heartprint on the world…The fact is, anyone who has ever done anything for God has had a laboring heart-no exceptions.” (R. Kent Hughes)

Thanks God, for nothing is more fundamental than the intimate relationship with Christ. I can read many Christian books and learn Systematic Theology completely, but without an intimate relationship with Christ, there is no life.


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