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Sunday, December 29, 2013 am                Back to Basics - Index

 

BACK TO THE BASICS - 1
Introduction

 

Heb. 5:12-6:1, For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” (Hebrews 5:12–6:3)

 “Back to the basics!”  It is a mantra that is frequently needed in the world.  From the trivial to life changing decisions, sometimes we need to get back to the basics.

-          When a sports team begins to get clumsy, sloppy and overconfident - perhaps they lose a game they should not lose or they barely escape – it might be time for the coach to remind them of the fundamentals of their sport. 

-          In the business world when mistakes begin to be made, sometimes there will be a conference or company meeting where all will be reminded of their purpose.

-          Sometimes in school (especially math, chemistry, physics, etc.), a teacher or professor will need to remind students of previous functions that need to be used to solve the more difficult problems. 

-          When accidents happen, there is the safety meeting to remind of proper procedures

-          When a marriage begins to struggle, it is time to stop and remind ourselves of what God’s purpose for marriage is and to remember our love for one another.

 

The same is true with the Lord’s church and as we strive to live our lives as Christians.  Sometimes churches become stagnant and lose their focus.  Like most things, with familiarity they become lax.  I remember a few years ago, my dad spoke of the congregation where he was preaching was beginning to get into a rut.  He began preaching some basic lesson and it got the congregation moving again. Perhaps it’s just the reminder of why we are here and what sets us apart, but there are times when we need to step back and review the foundations that led us to the truth in the first place.  And it is with that in mind that during 2014 a theme I have chosen to focus on is “Back to the Basics!”    In just a few moments I will discuss what I plan to do.

 I.                    What do we mean by “back to the basics”?

a.        What we are talking about is the fundamentals of our faith.

b.       “Elementary principles”, “first principles”, the foundation.  It is where you start or begin. We are discussing doctrine that is basic to properly serving God.  You might describe them as the building blocks of our faith.

c.        The Bible is a continuing story from Genesis to Revelation.  When we speak of the “Scheme of redemption” we are discussing God’s plan for man’s salvation, which is addressed in virtually every book of the Bible.  A fundamental understanding of the Bible will help us see how it all ties together. 

d.       “First principles” does NOT necessarily mean that it is a simple subject – either to comply with or to understand, but it IS key to building.  
The first principles involve not only the fundamentals we teach but an understanding behind those fundaments. The more we understand the “why” of something, the better off we will be in execution of it.
NOTE: Having said that we may not always understand WHY we are commended to do something a certain way but if we are commanded, we must do it anyways. 

e.       When you think about the “restoration movement” it was about getting back to the basics.  Scrapping all those man-made doctrines, innovations and practices and returning to the simple truths of scripture.  “Speaking only where the Bible speaks.” 

 

 II.                  Why we need the basics

a.        One might say, “I know this and have heard it many times.”

b.       Because the basics ARE fundamental.  The foundation makes that which is built upon it possible.  Reminders never hurt –

                                                   i.      Peter wrote his second epistle as a reminder of his message. (,
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.” (2 Peter 1:12)
2 Pet. 3:1-2, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,

                                                  ii.      Paul in writing often reminded.
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.” (Philippians 3:1)

c.        Repetition is one of the best ways to reinforce fundamental truths.  And we need to work at ensuring it does not become tedious. 

                                                   i.      Rev. 2 & 3, at the conclusion of each letter, we read the same statement - ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…’” (Revelation 2:7, 11,17,29, 3:6,13,22)   As you read this book you see the importance of that point by its repeated emphasis.

                                                  ii.      Jesus often repeated throughout His time of teaching.  To His apostles He emphasized His impeding betrayal and death trying to prepare them. 

d.       You might be reminded of some things you forgot or maybe never heard before.

e.       IF a church is growing as it ought to, there might be some who have NOT heard the basics.
For others it has been a long time and they have forgotten. Just because you remember something does not mean everyone else knows it.

f.         Because it is being ignored all around us. 

                                                   i.      I am concerned about the direction of the Lord’s church today in many places. Certain basics are not being emphasized (or completely avoided) and are often being replaced with the philosophies of men or only partial learning.  In particular, studies about authority, the nature of the church and morality are being avoided or reinterpreted to accommodate instead of exclude.
Therefore, many are not grounded.  Our youth and others are not able to stand up and defend their faith – because they have not been taught the fundamentals. 

                                                  ii.      Consider Judges 2:10.  When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.” Vs. 11-15 describes the result of this – they went after foreign gods and were cut off by the Lord as a result.
The FAULT of this was, at least in part, the failure of the previous generation to reinforce the teachings of the Law and God’s deliverance.  A part of the responsibility of the children of Israel was to repeat the law and explain why they did what they did.  Consider:

1.        Deut. 6:4-9 – they were to love God, teach it to their children and make it so common that it became second nature.

2.       Deut.  11:18-21 – repeats this attitude and ads that in so doing their days would be multiplied in the land.

3.       Exodus 12:26-27 – as the Passover was instituted, a part of the meal involved a retelling of the Lord’s deliverance from Egypt. “And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.” (Exodus 12:24–27)

4.       The same reminder was given as the “law of the firstborn.”  Exodus 13:14-15.

5.        Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;” (Psalm 78:3–7)

6.       IN FACT, the word Deuteronomy means “second law” and refers to a second giving of the law.

 

 III.                The Bible emphasizes the basics

a.        Our text for the year – Heb. 5:12-6:5. 

                                                   i.      The “first principles of the oracles of God” were needed to be able to mature and grow.  Growth is expected in the life of a Christian. 

                                                  ii.      The Hebrew writer says this because if a proper foundation was present with these brethren he could explain certain things that are more complex. 

                                                iii.       NOTE: The foundation needs to be emphasized, but notice the reason – to go on to perfection (6:1). 

                                                iv.      NOTE: We cannot dwell on the fundamentals to the neglect  of that which leads to maturity, which IS the ultimate goal.    

b.       Rev. 2:4-5 – the church at Ephesus was exhorted to remember its first love and from where it had fallen.  The key to returning to the Lord is a reminder of where you were and the fundamentals you once espoused.

c.        Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

d.       The concept of renewal would involve a reminder of the fundaments

                                                   i.      Psa. 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

                                                  ii.      Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

e.       Some examples of reminding of the basics:

                                                   i.      1 Cor. 15:3-5“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

                                                  ii.      Rom. 6:3-4, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

 IV.                Back to the Basics 2014 – some observations.

a.        Our theme for the coming year.

b.       My plan.  I have chosen 12 fundamental topics – one for each month. 

                                                   i.      January – Why I believe in God

                                                  ii.      February – Can we trust the Bible?

                                                iii.      March – Why I believe in Jesus

                                                iv.      Beyond that (not necessarily in this order): God’s Plan of Salvation, Authority, What It Means to be a Christian, The New Testament Church, What is wrong with denominationalism?, the Gospel, True worship, Living a moral life, and things concerning the end. 

c.        We are going to preach 3-4 basic lessons on each of these topics.  IN some cases, I may present some additional studies on Sunday evenings related to the monthly study. 
I hope to make them available as a resource on our website for teaching others as well.

 And there you have it.  An introduction to some of what we will emphasize in 2014.  It is my hope that with these studies we will be renewed in our spirits and with the fundamentals firmly rooted, we will “go on to perfection” and grow, both individually and as the Lord’s church here in Bellflower.