Back To The Basics (The essential doctrines pt. 1)
By Kenny McKinley
2nd Tim. 3:16 – 4:5
(Read Text) Today I’m starting a sermon series that I’ve titled “Back to the Basics”. In the Scripture we just read, Paul was writing to his protégé Timothy, and he tells him, (my paraphrase) “That all Scripture is given to us by God. And because it’s given to us from God and by God it is good. It’s good for doctrine (teaching), for correcting those in error, and for instruction, or basic training for righteousness. So that God’s people can be equipped for every good work, doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” Then beginning in chapter four, Paul gives Timothy his final instruction on how to be a minister. So in a nut shell Paul was saying, “This is what the Gospel is, and what it is for, and you Timothy, being a minister of the Gospel, this is what you are supposed to be doing.” But notice in verse three of chapter four where Paul gives him a warning (read vs. 3 & 4).
Now I want you all to look back at that word doctrine. Some Bibles translate it as teaching, and that is basically what the word doctrine means. A lot of times people hear that word doctrine and they thing of some kind of legalistic nut case. And that is because they either don’t understand, or don’t know what the word doctrine means. For the most part, it simply means teaching. And that is what we are going to be dealing with in this series, the basic Christian doctrines, sometimes called the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.
A few years ago a poll was given to church people, and in this poll they asked two questions. The first question was, “Are you a Christian?” And the overwhelming majority answered, “Yes!” The second question was, “How did you become a Christian?” And some of the answers were pretty wild. Some people said they were automatically a Christian because they were born in America, others said that because their parents were Christians they automatically assumed that they were Christians too. Some said that because they went to church every Sunday that is what made them Christians, while others said that because they were nice to other people that made them a Christian. But none of those answers are correct. Being born in the United States does not automatically make a person a Christian. Having parents who were Christians does not necessarily make a person a Christian. Being nice to others, and going to church every Sunday does not make a person a Christian.
You say, “Ok Kenny, so what makes a person a Christian.” The only way a person becomes a Christian is by receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But… hold on a second. You have to make sure it’s the right Jesus… is it the Mormon jesus? The Jehovah’s Witness jesus? That’s jesus with a little j. The jesus that the Mormons talk about and the jesus that the JW’s talk about is not the Biblical Jesus Christ that gives eternal life. So you see, that’s why we need doctrine, that’s why we need teaching.
The Bible itself gives us those doctrines which are essential to the Christian faith. There are four of them, The Deity and humanity of Christ, Salvation by Grace alone – through faith alone – in Christ alone, The resurrection of Jesus Christ – and the gospel.
Now there are many important teachings in the Bible, but these four are the only ones declared by Scripture to be essential. And every other religion, every cult, and every non believer will deny one or more of these essential doctrines.
Today what were going to talk about is the Deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus was and is God. But He also came in the flesh, when He was born in Bethlehem. Turn with me to John chapter 1:1-2; 1:14 (read). This is speaking of Jesus. God the Son was with God the Father in the beginning, and God the Son is God, and God the Son became flesh. Now turn over a few pages to John chapter 10:26-30 (read). Now flip over the book of Hebrews chapter 1:1-3; 1:8 (read). Jesus is God! He is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Now some people will say that Jesus was not God, that He was created, or that He was some kind of angel or something like that, others will say that Jesus was God, but that He didn’t literally come in the flesh. Turn with me to 1st John chapter 4:2-3 (read). Now remember this is the same John who wrote the Gospel according John where we see that Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God, and Jesus came in the flesh. What John is saying here is, if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh, then you are not a Christian, you are of the spirit of Antichrist.
Now turn with me back to John chapter 8 and look at verse 24 (read). Those words, “I AM” are the Greek words ‘ego eimi’, we see them again in verse 58 of that same chapter in John. Jesus was saying, if you don’t believe that I am the I AM, then you will die in your sins. So we see that Jesus is God, and we see that He came in the flesh, the next step is believing, having faith, but not just having faith in anything, but having faith in the right thing. Yours and my faith is only as good as the object we put it in.
We are going to Scotland in May, and when we go, I could have all the faith in the world that if I flap my arms hard enough and fast enough I could fly from Oklahoma, across the ocean, to Scotland, but I would never leave the ground. And I might not have any faith in the airplane that is going to fly us over there, but if that’s the case then I’ll probably be standing at the airport when my wife and kids come back home and tell me all kinds of great stories about the things I missed because I didn’t have enough faith to get on board and take the flight.
And it’s the same with Jesus Christ. We might have all the faith in the world in our good works, in our place of birth, in our parents religion, in our church membership, or whatever, but if it’s not in Jesus Christ, we are simply flapping our arms trying to fly. On the other hand we might have no faith in Jesus at all, and we will miss the trip to heaven because of it. So you’ve got to believe in Jesus Christ, and again, not the Mormon jesus or the JW jesus, because that’s the wrong jesus, that’s flapping your arms hoping to fly. You’ve got to believe in the Biblical Jesus, God who came in the flesh, and died for our sins, and rose again.
You see, Jesus was and is God, but He was also a man. We preachers call this the Hypostatic Union. That Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He wasn’t 50% God and 50% man, no… 100% God and 100% man. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, and that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. All throughout the Bible we can follow a blood trail, where blood was shed for mans sin. First in the Garden of Eden, when God Himself killed an animal and used its skins to cover Adam and Eve. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice covered sin. That’s why it had to be done every year. But in the New Testament, or New Covenant, Jesus was our sacrifice. He shed His blood, once and for all, and it didn’t cover our sin, it washed them away. But God cannot die, so Jesus Had to be a man, and because He was God and man, He can also be the mediator between God and man.
Turn with me to 1st Timothy 2:5 (read). And that’s one of the great things about salvation; that God entered into a covenant with Himself, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
You see, if you don’t believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, then you’re going to have a serious problem when you leave this world. And Jesus talked about that. He said, “Many will come to me in that day and say Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and do many good deeds in your name?” And He will say to them, “Depart from me, for I NEVER knew you.” You see, He never knew them, because they had their faith in the wrong jesus. They didn’t know the Biblical Jesus, all they knew was their interpretation of Him, or their religions interpretation, or their cults interpretation, and it will be a sad, sad day for them when they learn the truth.
And that is why this is an essential doctrine. If you and I want eternal life, if we want our sins forgiven, and to be declared righteous before our holy God, then we must believe in His Son as the Bible teaches, not as we want, but as God says in His Word.
Now I’m not finished, but I’m going to quit.
Next Sunday we will get into the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.