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Agreeing on the Basics

Agreeing on the Basics

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Published by: api-3835659 on Oct 18, 2008
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Agreeing on the Basics
(Acts 15:1-2, 4-5, 12-15a, 23-29)
The fundamental truth about salvation
What do you consider to be the non-negotiable truth(s)? (i.e. \u201chills worth dying on)

God justifies a person by grace through faith in Christ alone.
\u201cno flesh will be justified in His sight by the works of the law (Rom. 3:20)
\u201cAbraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6;

Rom. 4:3)
We take hold of the truth by sharing it (Matt. 5:13-16; Rom. 10:14-15)
Sometimes we must take a stand for the truth regardless of the potential opposition and
adverse consequences.
\u201cHere I stand. I can do no other. God help me.\u201d \u2013 Martin Luther
We are called to contend for the truth (1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; Jer. 6:16; Phil. 1:27;
4:1; Acts 5:20; 1 Cor. 15:1; 16:13; Gal. 5:1; Eph. 6:13-14; Col. 4:12; 2 Thess. 2:15)
\u201cAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do
nothing\u201d. \u2013 Edmund
\u201cTo sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.\u201d - Abraham Lincoln
Paul and Barnabas engaged those who polluted the gospel in argument and debate
We should \u201cengage the culture\u201d

"I feel responsibility on behalf of my generation to challenge the elite liberal
extremists," said Swindell, who also likes snowboarding, hiking, and camping in
her free time. "It's important we represent the voiceless, the pre-born - that we
represent our generation." It also doesn't hurt strategically. The more that young
people see activists like Swindell - hoop earrings, sandy hair pulled back in a
ponytail, faded jeans slightly ripped at the knee - the more welcome they might
feel in the antiabortion movement." - - The Boston Globe, Monday, July 26, 2004

We are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14)
Light exposed darkness
We must boldly stand up for the truth

Light helps us to clearly see the path before us and thus to avoid traps and
stumbling blocks
Courageously shining the light of truth draws those seeking after
\u201csomething more\u201d and \u201csomething real\u201d to the Christ (Isa. 60:1-3)
Doctrinal Dispute Resolution

A well-known Christian psychologist, Larry Crabb wrote, \u201cThe difference between
spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our
attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. When conflict is seen as an opportunity
to draw more fully on spiritual resources, we have the makings of spiritual community.\u201d

At various times in its history, the church\u2019s leaders have met together to settle doctrinal issues. For example, historians recognize seven ecumenical councils in the first several centuries of the church\u2019s existence.

Conflicts should be resolved quickly and not left to fester (Matt. 5:25; Prov. 17:14)
False teachers have plagued the church throughout its history. They are emissaries of
Satan, sent to destroy the church\u2019s power and corrupt its proclamation.
The most destructive of the \u201cdestructive heresies,\u201d since it damns men, is the teaching
that salvation is by human works, which Peter warned against.

To add anything to Christ as being necessary to salvation, say circumcision or any human
work of any kind, is to deny that Christ is the complete Savior, is to put something human
on a par with him, yea to make it the crowning point. That is fatal. A bridge to heaven
that is built of 99/100 of Christ and even only 1/100 of anything human breaks down at
the joint and ceases to be a bridge. Even if Christ be thought of as carrying us 999 miles
of the way, and something merely human be required for the last mile, this would leave
us hanging in the air with heaven being still far away. (R. C. H. Lenski,The

Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1961], 593)
New Covenant believers are freed from the unbearable burden (Acts 10:13-15; 15:10) of
keeping all the Old Covenant ritual.

Peter wrote, \u201cBut false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be
false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying
the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves\u201d (2 Pet. 2:1). \u201cI
know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the
flock,\u201d Paul warned the leaders of the church at Ephesus, \u201cand from among your own
selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them\u201d
(Acts 20:29-30).

John Stott in his commentary outlines three causes of this false teaching. The causes of
this error are three-fold.

First, we are told that it is diabolical in it source. Those who introduce a contrived
holiness are acting under the instigation of the Devil. Behind the false teachers is
the activity of demonic forces. The Bible reveals that the Satan is not only as a
tempter, enticing people into sin, but as a deceiver seducing people into error. This
is why otherwise intelligent and educated people can swallow fantastic
speculations of cults and the New Age movement. Secondly, there is a human
cause. This demon inspired doctrines require human involvement to gain entry
into the church. These false teachers do not even believe themselves what they are
teaching! (1 Tim. 4:2). Third, the cause is a moral failure. The second portion of 1
Tim. 4:2 two says, \u201chaving their own conscience seared with a hot iron.\u201d The
phrase in verse two translated \u201cseared with a hot iron\u201d, the Gk. Word
(kausteriazo) from which we get the medical term cauterize. When skin, nerve or
superficial tumor is cauterized, it is destroyed by burning and so rendered

Assemble together with the elders (Acts 15:2)
Elders are men of experience in the word and in the faith.
Both Peter and Paul recounted relevant experience in bringing Gentiles to

Note that the leaders, not the congregation as a whole, decided the issue.
One of the functions of elders is to watch for false teaching.

Skopos, Strong's No. 4649, is defined as "scope," to peer about. It derives

from the Greek wordskeptomai from which we get our word skeptic. It is
further defined as a watch (sentry or scout), and by implication, it means a
goal. The American Heritage Dictionary defines skeptic as (1) one who
instinctively and habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions
or generally accepted assertions, (2) one inclined to skepticism in religious
matters. It says that it derives from the Greek wordskept ikoi, meaning to
examine or to consider. The dictionary states that it derives from a base
word spek, meaning to observe, to watch. We can, therefore, see that a
bishop or elder should be slow to accept doctrines, teachings and
assertions. He should first look into the matter thoroughly. This reminds us
of the Bereans who first heard Yah's word from Paul and Silas. Luke, the
author of Acts, states that these Bereans were more noble minded than
those in Thessalonica. Why? True, they received the word with great
eagerness; but, they examined the scriptures daily to determine whether
these things were so - the things being taught them by Paul and Silas, the
great apostles of Yahweh, Acts 17:10-11. It is O.K. - it is even noble
minded - to examine and compare assertions, doctrines, statements and
words against the scriptures to determine if they match up. If the Bereans
could do this and be applauded for such, then certainly the same principles
should apply to elders and bishops of today.

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