Summary: First in the Back to SCHOOL series focusing on the basics of our faith. This message focuses on Salvation. Also makes a great salvation message for non-believers
Deception is out of control in the world. The George Barna Group has uncovered some of the ways people in America are being deceived today.
59% do not believe in Satan
51% believe praying to dead saints is beneficial
35% believe you can communicate with the dead
50% believe salvation is earned and not a gift
75% believe people are born neither good nor evil—they make a choice between the two as they mature
44% believe the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same truth
54% believe truth can only be discovered through logic, human reasoning and personal experience
(See www.barna.org “Americans Draw Theological Beliefs From a Divers Point of View”)
It is one thing to see the world being deceived; it’s all together different when deception happens within the church. The unfortunate reality is that even within the church people are being deceived!
One way to see how believers are being deceived is by looking at what happens to the faith of our children. The Bible tells us to declare God’s power to the next generation (see Psalm 71:18), but many of our children are running away from God instead of toward Him. Consider how many people consider themselves to be evangelical in each generation (in other words these are not just those who may attend church, but people from one generation to the next who say that they have had a born again experience).
65% of Builders (1910-1946)—these are the folks who reached retirement years; my parents are among the youngest in this generation.
35% of Boomers (1946-1964)—these are those who will begin to retire in the next few years down to mid-life; I hate to admit it but I’m among the youngest of this generation (at 43 I’m on the hump!).
15% of the Busters (1965-1976)—these are the thirty-somethings; my brother and sisters fit into this group.
It is projected that only 4% of the Bridges, also called the Millenials and Gen-Xers (born after 1977)—these are our those just entering their careers and marriages down through our youth and children; my kids are apart of this group.
(See: “Running from God,” Charisma; September, 2005)
As parents we have failed our children. What has caused this breakdown of faith being passed on from parents to children? We could talk about many different causes, but I believe one of the key issues is deception.
Our children are being deceived. We could talk about the influence of TV and other types of media and entertainment. We could point to the failure of our schools and even of our churches. These and other issues are all legitimate factors of deception; however there is one other issue we can’t ignore, and when we look in the mirror it is staring us in the face.
Our children see when we have been deceived. We may want to blame others, but before we begin “speck inspection” let’s take care of the plank in our own eyes! Our children read our lives like an open book, and there is not much we can hide from them either. They see the compromise; they hear the contradictions between what we say at church and who we are at home. We too have been deceived, and many of us don’t even know it!
WE NEED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL! As a church we need to know the basic fundamentals of our faith. In the same way that 2+2=4 and other basic math facts are foundational to everything anyone will ever learn and apply in mathematics, you and I must be grounded in the essential doctrines and teachings of Christianity. If we don’t know the basics, then we cannot mature to be the people or the church God wants us to be.
• 2 Timothy 2:14 (MsgB)
Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people.
• Titus 3:8 (MsgB)
Take a firm stand on these matters so that those who have put their trust in God will concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone.
• Titus 3:8 (NIV)
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Back to SCHOOL! The Basics of Our Christian Faith
Conversation with God – Prayer
Holiness and Sanctification
One Source – The Authority of Scripture
One God – Three Persons
Living the Spirit Filled Life
This morning we start at the beginning—square #1; SALVATION.
• John 3:16-17 (NIV)
 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.