Wycliffe Manuscript from 1380 - 1410
Wycliffe Manuscript from 1380 – 1410

In the last post, Elementary Doctrines, I talked about how our fellowship (large church), and the churches we established around the globe, used Derek Prince’s Foundation Series to bring new believers “up to speed.” Derek spent a lot of time with our fellowship and gave us permission to use his teachings. I had the privilege of accompanying him on ministry trips in America, to Israel and other parts of the world.

Now, it is time to get prepared for what the Lord is about to do. Some have seen a foretaste, but nothing can totally prepare us for what is about to happen. As the Lord restores Divine Order to His Church, many will be left clueless, as their foundation is built upon man’s traditions, and not the original blueprint from the Lord. As the Lord said, “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

One of the best ways to prepare for the coming restoration is to first check our own foundation and make sure that we are building on the rock, which is Christ. Second, we must build on the foundation only what God actually commands us to build, and then we must build according to His pattern. This is going to mean rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Third, it is essential that you know the hope of your calling in Christ Jesus. Without this you will be useless to the Work. It is only after these, that you can build up others in the knowledge of the Lord.

A good place to start is the foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6:1-2. The writer of Hebrews believed that an understanding of these doctrines was essential before a believer could properly understand the weightier teachings he was wishing to share.

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings (baptisms), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” Hebrews 6:1-3 (ESV)

This post is lesson one of seven lessons:

  1. Laying the Foundation
  2. Repentance from dead works
  3. Faith towards God
  4. Doctrine of Baptisms
  5. Laying on of Hands
  6. Resurrection of the dead
  7. Eternal judgment

(These posts are only brief summaries of the Foundation Doctrines of Hebrews 6. If you would like the complete teaching outline for self-study or teaching, please email me using the “Contact” link at the top of the http:apostolicteaching.net website.)

Laying the Foundation:

Jesus and the apostles often compared the Christian life to a building, with the Christian responsible to be built up into a dwelling place for the Lord. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

We know from Scripture that Jesus is the rock that the foundation is built upon, and that the foundation is laid by the apostles and prophets. We also know that Jesus is the cornerstone the builders rejected and the capstone of the building, that holds it all together. We know that the foundation of the building is both primary and essential and sets limits on the size and weight of the building that can be constructed. In other words, without Jesus we are building on sand.

“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

In Matthew 16 where Peter confesses Jesus to be the Christ, we have Jesus using a clever word play. Contrary to the belief of many, Jesus contrasts Peter with the Rock, he does not compare Peter to the Rock. This word play works in both the Hebrew language and the Greek, but doesn’t work when reading an English translation. This exchange with Peter, shows the Lord’s sense of humor as he makes a pun. Peter’s name in Greek would be petros, meaning a stone or boulder, where Jesus refers to the Rock as petra, meaning a big crag or cliff.

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.” Matthew 16:13-20 

In this passage we see four successive phases of entering the kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven).

  1. Confrontation: Jesus is the door
  2. Revelation: the Father, by the Spirit, reveals the Son
  3. Acknowledgment: you must receive this revelation and acknowledge Jesus
  4. Confession: public, with mouth.

Once we’ve accepted Jesus as the Messiah, how do we build on the foundation? Matthew 7:24-27 gives us the answer: first by hearing God’s Word and second by doing God’s Word, and the first thing new converts did in the Book of Acts was to be immersed (baptized) in water.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

To hear and correctly apply God’s word requires us to dig deep and dispose of the following:

  1. Traditions
  2. Prejudices: racial, denominational, social
  3. Preconceptions
  4. Unbelief
  5. Rebellion
  6. Laziness
  7. An incorrect reading of God’s word

Many Bible teachers and scholars get into trouble because they don’t teach what the Bible says, but what they think the Bible means. They are influenced by our list above, please don’t be one of these teachers. Read the Bible with fresh eyes and an open heart. Ask the Lord to remove any scales from your eyes, and clogs from your ears. Be bold, trust what the Holy Spirit will give you, but remember the rhema word must agree with the written word.

Jesus is the Word of God in person. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1, 14

Jesus and the apostles talked about the Scriptures, the Word of God in writing, and what they referred to was what Christians today call the Old Testament. This written Word was distinguished from the Oral Tradition, that many of the religious leaders of Jesus day counted as equal to the written word of God. (John 10:35) Many of the arguments between Jesus and the Scribes and Pharisees was based on the Oral Tradition and their interpretation of the law, not on the actual words of the law (Torah).

When Jesus referred to the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees, he was referring to this Oral Tradition and their way of practicing their religion. Jesus, like other Rabbis of his time, passed down to their disciples what had been passed down to them. (Jesus was passing down what he heard from God His Father. Jesus was constantly saying, you have heard or it is written, but I’ve come to tell you what my Father actually means. Jesus, like other boys of his generation, would have been at the Synagogue from the time they were five or six studying and memorizing the Scriptures, especially the Torah. Jesus’ generation was one of the most Scripturally informed generations in history.) Fortunately for us this Oral Tradition was written down in The Mishnah.

“The Mishnah (Hebrew: מִשְׁנָה, “study by repetition”), from the verb shanah שנה, or “to study and review”, The Mishnah is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions known as the “Oral Torah”. It is also the first major work of Rabbinic literature. The Mishnah was redacted between 180 and 220 CE by Rabbi Yehudah haNasi when, according to the Talmud, the persecution of the Jews and the passage of time raised the possibility that the details of the oral traditions of the Pharisees from the Second Temple period (536 BCE – 70 CE) would be forgotten.” From Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishnah.

The Mishnah and the Talmud (the two commentaries) that followed give us amazing insight into what the Jewish people would have heard Jesus say and mean. This is so important to our own understanding of the Scriptures.

The written Word in Greek is called logos and the Word of God given through the Holy Spirit is called rhema. Oral Tradition was man’s interpretation and instruction. Jesus didn’t rebuke all Oral Tradition of the religious leaders, but the Gospels are clear on ones that He rejected. Many religious leaders believe Jesus could not be the promised Messiah, because they saw him as a Sabbath breaker; but Jesus was not violating the Sabbath according to His father’s law and intent, he was just not honoring the rules taught by man.

Here are six vital facts about the Word of God. John 14:19, 22-23

  1. Total agreement between the two, written and rhema word of God.
  2. Keeping God’s Word distinguishes true disciples from the world.
  3. Keeping God’s Word is the supreme test of the disciple’s love for God. Love is motivation for obedience.
  4. Keeping God’s Word is the supreme cause of God’s love for the disciple.
  5. Through God’s Word, kept and obeyed, Christ manifests Himself.
  6. Through God’s Word, the Father and the Son together indwell the disciple.

Jesus and the apostles understood the Authority and Power of God’s Word. They new that the Holy Spirit was the inspirational Author, even if man penned the books. They new that all Scripture is inspired, and that all Scripture is profitable. That all Scripture is inbreathed by God (the Holy Spirit) (2 Timothy 3:16), and that the author is the interpreter, the final authority (2 Peter 1:20-21).

It is important to understand how Jesus and the apostles used Scripture. In Matthew 4 where Jesus is tempted by Satan, he answers Satan with, “It is written” and then proceeds to quote Deuteronomy for all three temptations. Jesus didn’t argue, he answered Satan with Scripture. The Apostle Paul tells us that the sword of the Spirit is the spoken word (Ephesians 6:17). It is time that we use the power from the Holy Spirit and the spoken Word of God to bring new life to the body of Christ. It is time to heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. It is time to set the captives free. It is a time for creative miracles and the resources necessary to complete the task. God is willing, but are we ready?

Jesus’ is the fulfillment of Scripture, for eighteen times, it is said: “That the Scripture might be fulfilled…” about his:

  1. Birth
  2. Life
  3. Death
  4. Resurrection

In Hebrews 4:12 we learn that the Word of God is:

  1. Alive, not dead
  2. Energetic: Divine energy which penetrates every area of human personality – soulish vs. spiritual
  3. Discerning: You read the Bible; the Bible reads you
  4. Effective
  5. If received in faith, the Word will do what it is intended to do. 
1 Thessalonians 2:13

Below is a list of eight effects of God’s Word in our life, is it working for you?

  1. Produces faith (Romans 10:17)
  2. Seed of new birth, James 1:18. Incorruptible seed produces incorruptible life (1 Peter 1:22-23)
  3. Spiritual nourishment
    Milk (1 Peter 2:2)
    Bread (Matthew 4:4)
    Solid food (Hebrews 5:12-14)
  4. Mental illumination (Psalm 119:130)
    Education is not light
    Wisdom comes through God’s Word
  5. Physical healing
    God’s Word: (Psalm 107:17-20) Saves, Heals, Delivers
    Proverbs 4:20-22
  6. Victory over sin and Satan
    Psalm 119:9, 11
    Matthew 4:4, 7, 10
  7. Cleansing and holiness (Ephesians 5:25-27)
  8. A spiritual mirror (James 1:23-25)

Last I want to talk briefly about the actual Bible that you use. I’m always asked my opinion as to the best translation and my glib answer is always, the one that you will read. There are so many more options available now than when I first entered the ministry back in 1972. Personally I rarely use a study Bible, as I find my Logos software and the internet have replaced most of my library. Also this method is portable, as you can take all the translations and actual languages, plus commentaries, etc. with you on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

What I read from today are Bibles that are formatted like books, single column in paragraph form. I find this a much better read. The psalms actually read like poetry, Paul’s letters like he wrote them to me. I’m not encumbered by man’s arbitrary chapter breaks and number system.

To get a good overview of the “physical” Bible and see options and reviews, check out the website: http://www.bibledesignblog.com/.

Thanks for reading,

  • Thus the foundation of our faith is the apostolic witness to Jesus Christ. The beginning of our faith is when we receive a faith in Christ of the same kind as that of the apostles.

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