Gospel Adventist Ministries

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." ~ 1 Cor 2:2

Month: July 2020

The Five Essentials of Christianity

A question I have been pondering over the past few decades is what are the essential teachings of Christianity? What does a Christian have to believe to be a representative of Jesus Christ?

What MUST I believe to be saved?

There are Five essential teachings:

1. The Bible is the word of God. If a person does not believe the Bible is a product of divine revelation they have no basis to believe in Christ or God’s plan of salvation. The gospel becomes speculation and myth and Christ cannot be the object of genuine faith.

2. The Trinity. One God existing in three distinct forms and personalities. If someone were to pull the plug on God then all three persons would disappear in an instant. God has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The human brain cannot fathom the complexities of God, but this is how God has revealed Himself. Jesus is fully divine and as eternal as God the Father, but with His own distinct function and role in the God head. To deny the full divinity of Christ is to deny the one and only true God.

3. The Blood Atonement of Jesus. Jesus died in our place on the cross of Calvary. This is the central doctrine of Christ and the Apostles. It does not take a Ph.D. in theology to understand and God does not require a five page essay on the person and work of Christ on the cross to be born again. However, this is a basic truth that must be accepted: Jesus died in our place for our sins. Without the cross there is no resurrection, no Christianity, no salvation for humanity, and no basis for our faith as Christians.

4. Righteousness by Faith. What does God require of us to have the assurance of salvation? God demands we accept Jesus as the full substitute for our sins. There is no condition for salvation other than simple faith and trust in our divine savior. We are declared righteous the instant we place our faith in Jesus. Warning: We deny Christ when we worship other Gods or if we pervert the truth of the Gospel–Righteousness by Faith Alone.

5. The Second Coming. To be a Christian we must believe Jesus is coming back to provide eternal life for His followers. It is not essential that Christians agree on when and how the second coming will occur. However, the second coming is an integral part of the plan of salvation. To deny the reality of the second advent would be to deny a major promise that Christ proclaimed to His disciples–He would return to earth to set up His kingdom. Jesus will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all eternity.

All Christians must accept these five major teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. These are non-negotiable teachings of the Bible that are simple enough for any Child to understand. They also leave us with a complexity of understanding, depth of knowledge, and profound thought that will never be fully exhausted by an eternity of study.

Stephen Beagles (2020)

The Gospel in a Nutshell

The Full Armor of God

The Belt of Truth

Yes, truth exists and it is possible to know right from wrong. Being an expert on the Bible doesn’t grant a person infallibility, but a heart full of the Holy Spirit will have a divine interpreter waiting to guide a person into the truth. (John 16:3)

Nothing is more disheartening than to be faced with a wide range of opinions in the world and to be persecuted for standing up for what you know as truth. The only way to overcome this is to accept the Bible as the word of God and to follow it closely. The power of the truth will comfort the afflicted and will afflict the comfortable. To wage war against the devil we need to confront his lies with the truth of God’s word.

The Breast Plate of Righteousness

The truth of God’s word will always lead us to a knowledge of righteousness by faith. As a breast plate covers the vital organs, the truth of the gospel will shield us from self-righteousness and pride. It reminds us of our natural weakness apart from the righteousness that Christ offers as a gift for all who place their trust in Him. Even though we are weak on the inside, we are made strong as we trust in the breastplate of His righteousness.

Feet Fitted with the gospel of Peace

When God calls us into His army, He issues the gear that we will need to survive the rough and rugged terrain of our sinful environment. He calls us to take the gospel to every part of the world. A sturdy boot that protects our feet is essential for traveling long distance over land. A knowledge of the gospel of peace is essential to accomplishing our mission.

The Shield of Faith

Doubt is the preferred weapon of our enemy. If the devil can get us to doubt the word of God then he has us in his grasp. When ever we are exposed to the lies of Satan we must extinguish them by refusing to doubt the truth of God’s word. We must allow ourselves to study differences of thought and opinion, but it is essential to become more familiar with the truth. Exercise genuine faith in the promises of God. Refuse to doubt.

The Helmet of Salvation

We must never go anywhere in battle without our helmet. It is designed to protect our brain in the event of a bullet or an explosion. The deep and holy assurance of salvation will help to protect our minds from the deadly deceptions of the evil one. If we lose that assurance for even a second then we might be impacted and subjected to eternal loss. We are not safe for a second without the helmet of Salvation.

The Sword of the Spirit

This is our only offensive weapon. The word of God must be proclaimed. The word of God itself is powerful enough to neutralize error. We should never argue or debate with the devil, but we should be ready to answer all charges with a plain thus saith the Lord. The word of God is powerful and must be presented accurately There is nothing more powerful than the truth of the gospel to win souls for Christ.

(to be continued…)

Stephen Beagles (2020)

Let it Shine!

Controversy is nothing new to me. When one takes a stand on the word of God it is inevitable that someone will challenge what you are saying. If we are to follow the Biblical examples of the early Apostles then we must be bold and proclaim the truth in the face of persecution. There will be mockers, but we must continue to move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t see any examples of Jesus debating a scribe or pharisee. The pastors of his day would often try to trick him or trap him theologically to make Him look bad. This often backfired. Instead of backing down to the challenge, Jesus would turn the tables on them and call them out on their ignorance.

I am convinced that we cannot out argue the Devil. He is a master at mental illusions and building fanciful arguments based on unwarranted assumptions and faulty interpretations. Instead of arguing, the best approach is often to continue proclaiming the truth in a confident manner while asking the Holy Spirit to break through the blindness of the persons heart.

The devil is everywhere and he loves to masquerade as an angel of light or a minister of righteousness. Not everyone who disagrees with us is an agent of the devil, but the devil can often use these disagreements as opportunities for temptation. One of the traps we can fall into is bitterness and mistrust. We must always show love for the sinner while calling out their sin.

Spiritual blindness is a curse. It can only be overcome by proclaiming the word of God. The word of God that called light out of darkness is still powerful enough to dispel the darkness of this evil world.

Stephen Beagles (2020)

Breaking the Chains

The Gospel of Perfectionism

Jesus died on the cross to give us all a second chance at eternal life. Once we put our faith in Christ then He gives us the Holy Spirit who then cleanses us from all sin. Real Christians do not sin. If you do something deliberately you know is wrong then you are forfeiting salvation until you confess your sin and change your ways. Yes, it is possible to live a sinless life.

God isn’t going to wait until heaven to give you a perfect character, and┬áthe character building must happen prior to the close of probation. Once probation closes, your case is closed and you can no longer receive forgiveness for sins.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Jesus bore the penalty for all sin at the cross. People who place simple faith and trust in Christ have the verdict of the pre-advent judgment and the assurance of salvation. Christians are never without sin in this lifetime due to complications of the sinful nature. The Holy Spirit has promised to help us overcome deliberate sins and to keep our faith strong, but there is nothing in the Bible to suggest sinless perfection on this side of heaven.

Salvation is a free gift provided for all who trust Christ for salvation. We are declared righteous the instant we accept the forgiveness he has to offer. Once we have faith in Christ then the Holy Spirit works to make us holy as we mature in the faith, but this is a work of a lifetime. Christians do not reach sinless perfection until the resurrection of the righteous at the second coming of Jesus. We will all receive glorified bodies and sinless natures prior to the entrance into the heavenly kingdom.

Stephen Beagles (2020)

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