Text: Psalms 61
I. When we are teaching others, it is important not to just address the issues raised, but to think about why a person has come to the wrong conclusions.
A. When a person claims to be a Christian but is living with another person, unmarried, how is it that they decided this is acceptable?
B. It isn’t just the sin, but there are foundational concepts that are off, which allow the person to come to the conclusion that sin is acceptable.
C. If we don’t address the foundational problems, you won’t be able to convince the person to change.
1. It will be like repairing a badly damaged home without first fixing the damaged foundation.
2. You can make the repairs, it might look fine for a bit, but it is going to collapse again.
D. I heard a series of devotions by Hugh Delong that had me thinking deeper about these ideas and I would like to share them with you.
II. Points of View
A. Our view of the world is influenced by certain concepts from which we build other thoughts.
1. Hugh told of spending several hours teaching a man about why instrumental music in worship was wrong only to have him respond: “It doesn’t matter, I don’t believe in God anyway.”
2. I’ve had similar experiences
3. The finest logic in the world doesn’t matter if two people don’t agree on the basic axioms.
a. If you being with wrong concepts and reason logically, you will draw wrong conclusions.
b. Just as you cannot get good from evil - Romans 3:8
B. There is a question behind any question you are asked - I Peter 3:15
1. You need to know their view point first or it may be near impossible to answer the question.
III. First Foundation: God
A. If a person doesn’t believe in God, then nothing matters eternally. Right and wrong are just made up concepts
B. The root of faith is in two things - Hebrews 11:6
1. That God exists
2. That God rewards
C. The fool (a person who refuses to learn) says there is no God - Psalms 14:1
1. There is no learning without an acceptance that God exists
D. While most of the world believes in a god, many – even those claiming to be Christians – don’t believe in the one God of the Bible
1. What you most often find is that people believe a simplified caricature of God.
a. “God is Love!”
b. “God doesn’t care”
2. The reason the Jews crucified Jesus and persecuted Christians is found in their lack of knowledge about who God really is - John 16:3
3. A refusal to know God leads to all sorts of sins - Romans 1:28-32
a. If you want to know what is happening to our world, it is found here: in a refusal to accept God as real
E. Thus, any study must start with instilling a knowledge and desire for God
1. The fear of God - Proverbs 1:7; 9:10
2. Wisdom bemoaned that fools hated knowledge and do not choose to fear God - Proverbs 1:29
3. I remember talking to a young man who was heavily involved in fornication. As it became clear that he was in sin, he would toss out something to express doubt that God even existed. If he could be “unsure that God existed, then there was no reason in his mind to change his behavior.
4. You can see this in Pharaoh’s response to Moses - Exodus 5:2
5. Or the king of Assyria - II Chronicles 32:15
6. Or the wicked - Job 21:15
F. You can’t talk with a Hindu or a Muslim, etc. until you first settle on which God you are talking about.
1. The idea that we all worship the same God is false.
2. Hindus believe there are multiple gods of which the Christian’s God is just one
3. The Muslim’s concept of Allah is very different from the Christian’s concept of God.
G. Sing: Shelter in the Time of Storms (575)
IV. Second Foundation: The Bible
A. How can we know God and what He desires of us?
1. For most people, whatever they think is what they assume God wants. Their god is really themselves.
2. We can’t truly know a person until we talk to them and he tells us about himself.
3. We cannot truly know God unless He tells us - I Corinthians 2:10-12
B. It cannot be found in ourselves
1. We barely understand this universe, how could we on our own understand God?
2. God is not like us. In Him there is no sin - Numbers 23:19
3. He doesn’t think like we do, which is why God can offer salvation when we think we are hopeless - Isaiah 55:6-9
a. We should not imagine God being like ourselves
b. We should aspire to change our thoughts to be like God
C. The Bible claims to be God’s teachings
1. Think how many times you can find, “thus says the Lord” or “the Lord says” in the Bible.
2. The Bible claims to be the breath of God - II Timothy 3:16-17
D. Without acceptance of the Bible and learning from the Bible, there can be no faith - Romans 10:17
1. I always find it sadly amusing when Mormons ask people to pray see if the Holy Spirit gives them faith that the Book of Mormon is God’s Word. They think faith comes before learning.
2. Faith rests on a foundation, the teachings of God!
E. When the early disciples went out to teach, they reasoned from the Scriptures - Acts 28:23; 17:2
1. Christianity is a reasoned faith - Acts 17:17; 18:4,19; 19:8-9
2. When we teach, we must do the same - I Peter 3:15
a. Notice the first foundation- Sanctify God in your hearts, then give a reasoned defense
F. It is through the word that the Spirit converts - I Peter 1:22-25
1. Let the word do its work. This is not about how eloquently we present the message - I Corinthians 2:4
2. Give answers that are clear and accurate.
3. Cite the passages and have the person you are studying with read for himself
G. There is bound to be rebuttals, be prepared to answer with more references
1. Hold fast the word of life - Philippians 2:14-16
H. Sing: How Firm a Foundation (248)
V. Third Foundation: The Resurrection of Jesus
A. A point heavily emphasized is that the Son of God came into this world, was killed and came back to life - I Corinthians 15:1-4
B. Many see Jesus as just a man – a good man, perhaps a prophet, but nonetheless only a man
C. But the Bible claims otherwise and is testified by many
1. God declared Jesus to be His Son at his baptism - Luke 3:22
a. And on the mountain of transfiguration - Mark 9:7
2. Satan admitted it while tempting Jesus - Matthew 4:3,6
3. The demons said so - Mark 3:11
4. The apostles concluded it when Jesus calmed the storm - Matthew 14:33
5. In fact, the miracles Jesus did show who he is - John 20:30-31
D. Why is this important? Because man cannot rescue man.
1. Men sin - Romans 3:23
2. It took someone sinless to atone for the sinful - I Peter 3:18
3. Some, such as the Muslim, claim that Jesus did not die on the cross
E. But it is a critical point that Jesus not only died, but was raised from the dead - I Corinthians 15:16-19
1. Jesus foretold his death and resurrection many times - Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23
2. His resurrection is mention in almost every sermon recorded in Acts
3. It is mentioned in almost every letter in the New Testament
4. The Lord’s Supper proclaims his death, but also his resurrection - I Corinthians 11:26
5. Baptism symbolizes this essential foundation of Christianity - Romans 6:3-5
F. The resurrection of Jesus changes everything
1. All people die. Some were raised, only to die again. But Jesus lives! - Romans 1:1-4
a. Notice the foundation of the prophecies in the Bible
2. But there is also a foundation that God exists, for without God there could be no resurrection - Acts 13:33
G. Sing: We Saw Thee Not (726)
VI. The Fourth Foundation - Living the Gospel
A. Why would anyone believe us if we do not live according to what we claim to believe - Luke 6:46
B. We are the world’s Bible. Even people who never pick up the Book, learn of its contents through our behavior
1. When they see our good works - Matthew 5:16
2. When they see our good behavior - I Peter 3:15-16
3. When they hear us speak - Colossians 4:6
4. When they see our attitude - Philippians 2:14-15
C. People can be won over without a word
1. Wives - I Peter 3:1-2
2. The fruit of righteousness – its produce – is a tree of life - Proverbs 11:30
D. Thus, we must become changed people - Ephesians 4:17-24
1. We demonstrate how God, through the Gospel and the Resurrection of Jesus changes us into people we could never have been on our own
E. The word becomes who we are
1. The engrafted word - James 1:21-22
2. The word dwells in us - Colossians 3:16-17
3. It is no longer our life but Christ’s - Galatians 2:20
F. Song: Living for Jesus (402)
VII. The Fifth Foundation - Our Endurance
A. Foundations are meant to last
1. God endures - Psalms 102:12
2. God’s word endures - Psalms 119:160
3. Jesus endured hostility - Hebrews 12:1-3
4. Christians are to endure - II Timothy 2:3
B. Jesus warned that following him means there will be persecution - Matthew 5:10-12
1. It is followed by the statements that we are salt and lights of the world
2. When persecuted, we endure - I Corinthians 4:12
C. Suffering is one of the themes of I Peter. It is mentioned about 16 times
1. Not suffer in general, but suffering because you are living for Christ - I Peter 4:15-19
2. After we endure, we are established - I Peter 5:10
D. Suffering makes us grow - Hebrews 12:5-14
1. We need endurance - Hebrews 10:36
E. Jesus will reward us - Revelation 2:10
F. It ought not be surprising that the times of greatest growth in the church are the times Christians were being persecuted.
G. Sing: Faith of Our Fathers (136)
VIII. Each stone is built on others
A. Our endurance testifies not only how strongly we believe, but tells others it is worth believing, but it is meaningless if we don’t live righteously
B. Our obedience to Christ shows that Christianity is doable, but it is meaningless if there is no resurrection
C. The resurrection means that death can be conquered and there is a reward in heaven, but it can’t be proven without the Bible
D. The Bible tells us all we need to know about life and godliness (II Peter 1:3), but it won’t be accepted if people don’t believe God exists
E. God must exist, not any imagination of a god, but the God.
F. Lay the foundations so that you can teach others - I Corinthians 1:21