Summary: Why a series on theology? Because studying theology can help us overcome our wrong ideas, it can help us to make better decisions, & it can help us grow as Christians!
What We Believe: Intro – “Why a Series on Theology?”
1. VIDEO – “Why Theology Matters?” by Joshua Harris…
2. The EFCA SOF begins with these words, “The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions…”
3. The reason for starting that way is so that we understand that it is our theology that joins us together, not our model of ministry or anything secondary issue.
4. In 2011, George Barna’s research agency released the results of a survey of more than 5,000 interviews with American Christians. His conclusion was that “The Christian Church is becoming less & less theologically literate & that many church attenders today do not really know what they believe.”
5. ILL – George Whitfield, a British evangelist and preaching companion of John Wesley, is recorded as asking a fellow, "Sir, what do you believe?” He answered, "I believe what my pastor believes!” Whitfield asked, “Well, then what does your pastor believe?” “My Pastor believes what my church believes." Whitfield then asked, "And what does your church believe?" “Well, my Pastor & my church believe that same thing I believe," the man replied. "And what do all of you believe?" Whitfield asked. "We all believe the same thing!"
6. This should not surprise us as Paul spoke of it in 2 Tim. 4:1-5 (read).
7. Unfortunately, Many today think that theology & doctrine are irrelevant to life & should be reserved for seminary students. In fact, someone once said, “Theology, who needs it? That’s just for seminarians in ivory towers.”
8. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, “Theology is practical: especially now...If you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones--bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas.”
9. The truth is that if you’re a believer, you “do theology” every day. Every time you make a moral decision, tell someone about your faith, or attend a worship service, you are “doing theology.”
10. What is Theology? It is literally the study of God, mainly through His Word. Most of the time when people use the term theology, they mean Systematic Theology.
11. I like Wayne Grudem’s definition of Systematic Theology, which is “any study that answers the question, ‘What does the whole Bible teach us today?’ about any given topic.”
12. So why a series on theology? Because studying theology can help us overcome our wrong ideas, it can help us to make better decisions, & it can help us grow as Christians!
13. We will be using the EFCA Statement of Faith as our guide. Why? We are an EFCA church. While all denominations are “man-made” the Free Church is unique in several ways –
a. We are a believers’ church (all believers) with a strong commitment to evangelical unity in the gospel.
b. We “major on the majors & minor on the minors.”
c. We believe that both sound Christian doctrine & an active relationship with God are essential to the life of the believer.
14. 3 key reasons for a series on theology –
I. What We Believe Determines What We Do –
“Our theology drives our lives. What we know and understand about God impacts everything - everything we think, say, and do.” David Murray
A. Belief determines our reality –
1. What we believe about God determines the way we act, think, reason, speak & even how we respond to difficulty.
2. 1 Tim. 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
3. A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
4. A low view of God, which is so prevalent today, is the cause of so many of our problems today. Why? We have lost the sense of awe & reverence that God so rightfully deserves.
5. Common misperceptions of God & their results...
a. Overzealous policeman = walking around on eggshells.
b. Angry judge = always feel guilty.
c. Grandpa asleep in the rocker = if He doesn’t care, I don’t care either.
d. Always working somewhere in the world = He is too busy for me.
e. What is/was your earthly father like? = his characteristics strongly influence your perception of God today. Especially the negative views you have of your Dad.
6. What’s YOUR misperception of God? We all have them and if we don’t learn the truth about God, we will live & die with our misperceptions.
7. SO? That means you will miss out on the kind of friendship, love & encouragement that could have been yours in Christ.
B. Belief naturally leads to commitment –