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Summary: When there is an undue focus on the "will" of God to the exclusion of the whole "Being" of God we will end up with a distorted perspective of God

• Doctrines can be defined as those things we cannot do without and still be a Christian

• Beliefs are those things that make a Christian a Christian

o Salvation is through Christ alone, by faith alone through grace alone

o The Bible is the Word of God

So our focus should be on the essentials of Christianity

• Essentials are those things that define our identity in Christ

• A statement of beliefs is a list of these essentials

• Circle Diagram - Essentials, Distinctives, Minor heresies, Major Heresies

• To often the things we argue over are more about form than substance

o Music – type of, how we express ourselves

o Type of baptism – sprinkling, full immersion, Baptism of the Holy Spirit

o Fortunately God looks at the heart. Don’t think he is going to stop someone coming into his kingdom because they were sprinkled, big toe was sticking out, or they did or did not speak in tongues

• The more we focus on these outer circles the more we run the risk of becoming legalistic

• Legalism is the belief that at some particular point our salvation somehow depends on how well we do!

o only be accepted if we are baptized a particular way - thief on the cross wasn’t even baptized

o only be accepted if we speak in tongues

o only be accepted if we keep a particular day

Legalism ultimately leads to a misconception of God

• the focus of legalism is on the “will of God” to the exclusion of the who God is or “His Being”

• Diagram – BEING (Who God is in His Totality) WILL (of God)

• People unfortunately divide the two

• One of the misconceptions that has developed about God over the centuries is that God the Father is this harsh God of Justice who is mad at mankind for our sins

• Jesus on the other hand is portrayed as this good guy who comes along and turns away the wrath of God so he is no longer mad with us

• So its like this “good cop, bad cop” routine

• And so the argument goes, if we want to stay on God’s good side we had better be good and keep the ten commandments

• Of course this presents all sorts of problems not the least of which presents God as a being harsh and vindictive, that that God the Father and Jesus Christ are not in one accord

• Yet the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always in one accord

• Remember Jesus response to Philips question in John 14:8-11 (quickview)  (NKJV)

• 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

• 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

• One of these mysteries about the Trinity

• Now if we extrapolate what Jesus just said about the Father and apply it to the cross, when Jesus went to the cross who went with Him? God the Father


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