When I think back to when the Lord first removed the blinders off my eyes, I could remember being sooo hungry spiritually. I would read the word for hours, talk about Jesus to those closest to me, and ask fellow believers for their testimonies. I also began to search the internet for sermons, bible commentaries, and teachings. I wanted to take the word in all the time so I would lay back with my headphones on listening to sermons, podcast, and youtube videos about God. The internet can do many great things in building the faith of Christians all over the world. It gives us a chance to view testimonies and teachings that otherwise wouldn’t be available to us in our hometowns. Many of us are discipled by people from afar because there is a spiritual famine in our local churches. Over the years God has lead me to some powerful ministries that helped me grow in the Lord when I felt I didn’t have anyone to disciple me. However because of the world wide web we also have access to false teachings like never before. We are in the last days and scripture says that these days are going to be full of deception.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24
First I was thinking that it would be a good idea to begin writing about all the religious “Christian” cults out there to expose their lies one by one, but then I felt a nudge say, “just focus on the truth”. If you study the lie you will have to continue studying more lies however if you just focus on the truth you will know when the lie comes. People who are trained to recognize a counterfeit 100 dollar bill don’t study a bunch of fake 100 dollar bills, they actually study the REAL 100 dollar so thoroughly that when they see a fake they can immediately identify it. So we are going to look at the essential doctrines when it comes to following Jesus Christ. If you are following a belief system that rejects any of these doctrines you have entered into heresy.
- Jesus Christ is God
It is extremely important to understand, accept, and believe the deity to Christ. Yes, Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of God and He is God’s Son because He came to this earth being conceived by the virgin Mary however He is eternal and always existed before He came to this earth. He doesn’t have a beginning ending because He always was and always will be. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:1, 14). If any religion, doctrine, or teaching comes against this fact flee!
- The Godhead (Trinity)
One of the most difficult facts to comprehend in the Bible is the concept of the godhead (some say trinity which I feel is fine, but trinity isn’t written in scripture). The bible states that there is only one God. However the full revelation is that one God is presented as three persons. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. These persons are always in complete harmony, agreement, and holds the same will. The bible describes this one God as a relational being. The Bible displays the persons of the godhead in communication with one another. Genesis 2 states let us make man in our image and in our likeness. Psalm 110:1 King David gives an account of a conversation being had between the Father and the Son, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” We see from the previous verses and more that our God is a relational being who knows what love is because of the relationship The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have. Any belief that deviates from this is false.
- Salvation by Grace through Faith Alone
Man cannot save himself from sin and hell. God’s standard in terms of being a “good” person is moral perfection in thought, word, and deed. Since the fall of Adam sin has been passed throughout mankind like a disease. The ten commandments represent the Holy character of Almighty God and violation of any of these commandments makes a man guilty. Have you ever told a lie? (me too, too many to remember). That means we are guilty and deserving of hell. By God’s law in order for Him to forgive us there must be a payment for sin, a perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22). There was only one man who lived a perfect life, Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God. Jesus is that perfect sacrifice, by willingly going to the cross and died for our sins. What we must do is repent and believe putting all of our faith in what Jesus did. True faith believes and belief does change our actions. God empowers us through the Holy Spirit giving us the grace to do the things that please Him and turn from the things that don’t. At the end of the day it is all grace. No one will be bragging about why they are saved. Ephesians 2:8-9. Grace is what separates true biblical Christianity from all other world religions, who basically teach that man has the ability to work his way to god or other higher power. Our God had to some down to earth and live a perfect life in order to rescue us.
- The Resurrection of Christ
All of our hope rest on the literal resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ from the dead. Without the resurrection there is no hope of us overcoming death and our preaching is in vain. See Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection from the dead and those who have faith in Him will also rise from the dead on the last day (refer to John 6:39-40). If there is a teaching that goes against the literal resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ reject it quicker than Laura Winslow to Steve Urkel. “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14
Protect Against False Teaching.
So those are the core essential doctrines of the Christian faith, in other words if you are not in agreement with anyone of those beliefs you must repent and believe. To wrap this up I would like to give some tips to help protect us from false teaching.
Love the truth
A sincere love of the truth of God’s Word is so important. As we walk with Jesus we are going to read many truths in scripture that may be hard for us to bare. We must submit to these truths no matter what, we should understand that God’s Word is good for us no matter how much our flesh wants to resist it. If you don’t love the truth or reject part you will be open to deception and false teachings. The enemy will appeal to your flesh and present a lie that sounds more “reasonable” to you. So if scripture tells you to do something or to stop doing something and the command seems difficult to obey, ask God to grant you the strength and keep loving the truth of His word. Don’t look for a work-around because you WILL find what you are looking for and it will be a LIE.
The bible is clear, “God resist the proud and gives grace to the humble” (refer to 1 Peter 5:5). It’s important that we remain humble in are walk with Christ no matter how much we learn or how much revelation God sends us we must see ourselves as little children looking up to our heavenly Father. When we humbly seek God He will protect us from false teaching and correct us when we are going off track. I can remember when I was seeking the Lord and wanted to learn the truth about Him. He protected me so many times when I could have gone into error in Christian Science, Gnostic Gospels, and New Age just to name a few. But He knew I was honestly just seeking Him in humility and He directed my paths. However when someone becomes proud the Lord and depart from them and they may not even realize it (ask Saul).
Study on your own
Finally we cannot be spiritually lazy in our walk with God. When we take time to earnestly study the Word of God we protect ourselves from false teaching. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. God wants us to know the Word and know it well. As said earlier knowing the truth well will equip you with what’s necessary to identify and avoid deception. Let’s stay focused everyone and may we all continue to abide in the way the Truth and the life.