Basics of Christianity

Dear Brethren,

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.”  Jefferson felt that the true religion of Jesus had been corrupted into a religion about Jesus.  How accurate his words are.  How many of us are actually peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)?  Who among us would forgive an offence seventy times seven times in order to reconcile with his brother before offering his gift to God (:24)?  Who turns the other cheek – not resisting evil (:39)?  Who travels the extra mile or gives away his coat and cloak (:40-41)?  Who prays for and blesses those who curse them (:44)?  And we’ve only lightly touched on the fifth chapter of Matthew!  Jesus concludes in verse 48 with, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

We count ourselves as Christians, and rightly so, but isn’t it time we got down to the basics of our Christianity?  One single point treated without due consideration could disqualify us from the Kingdom of God.  “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:  But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convicted of the law as transgressors.   For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  (James 2:8-10)

In these last days, some brethren have become very comfortable in their present condition – but we would be wise to diligently and earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints (Jude: 3). There are not many brethren who are holding fast to the Faith of which Jesus spoke. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering."  (Hebrews 10:23) That is why Jesus asked the question, "Will I find faith when I return," (Luke 18:8) - indicating that there will not be a large number of brethren at His return who are both; believing the faith once delivered to the saints, and living the faith once delivered to the saints.

“Be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)  Brethren, we need to return to the very basics of Christianity – such as solving problems in a Biblical way and laying our lives down for one another.  Jesus Christ warned a number of times that the saints must be careful to put into practice the basic truths and doctrines which were once received.  Now is our only opportunity! 

Christianity is hard – no, without God’s Holy Spirit it is impossible Jesus says,  "Assuredly, I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:23-26).

Thank God that He is giving us an opportunity to reflect and build spiritual character. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15) “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13)

What about us – we claim to know the doctrines of Christ?  Most of us would say that we know what Jesus taught.  What makes a person a Christian?  We know that saying, "I am a Christian," does not make a person a follower of Christ.  "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."  (Romans 8:14)  How well do we put into practice the principles that Jesus taught?

Let's be careful not to be lulled into a false sense of complacency.  Let us not be as those who sleep.  None of us would dare claim that we have nothing more to achieve as Christians – would we?  God has given us this time that remains until His coming, to become more like Jesus.  There is always a risk of falling into the trap of thinking that we have a good bit of time remaining.  In the Scriptures, we are warned not to fall into the trap of saying to ourselves, "My Lord delays His coming" - which would cause us to be unprepared at His return.

"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delays His coming;  And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;  The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  (Matthew 24:48-51)


Sermon:  "Basics of Christianity"