The Essential Teachings of Christianity
A good understanding of the following doctrines will enable you to stand upon the rock of Christ. People need a solid grounding in the Christian faith. Often what happens is that believers get caught up with side issues and forget the basics. Focus on that which is most important:
1) There Is Only One True God – There has always been and always will be the one and only true God. No other god was formed before Him and apart from Him there is no God (Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6). God is eternal, without beginning and without end (Psalm 90:2; 93:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). The first commandment allows no excuse for worshipping a false god. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). The second commandment allows no excuse for making idols (Exodus 20:4-5). People are led astray by false gods (Jeremiah 13:25; 16:19-20; Amos 2:4). Those who are worshipping other gods need to renounce them in order to be saved.
2) The One True God Is Three Divine, Distinct Persons – Right from the beginning God has revealed that He is a plurality of persons. God alone created all things (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 44:24), yet God said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26-27). God created man in His own image by a combined act of the Father (Deuteronomy 32:6) and the Son (Colossians 1:16-17) and the Holy Spirit (Job 33:4). The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, yet there are not three gods, for they are of one substance or essence and have eternally existed together as God.
When people first accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, often they don’t understand the full nature of God as a Trinity. They need to be shown this doctrine because it is the Biblical revelation that accurately describes who the true God is. A lack of basic understanding of this has caused many to be led astray.
3) Jesus Is Both God And Man – Jesus was with God, being at His Father’s side, and was God from the beginning (John 1:1-3,14,18). To become a man He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35). It is wrong to deny the humanity of Christ (1 John 4:1-3) and it is wrong to deny the deity of Christ (Colossians 1:19; 2:9). Like the apostle Thomas, we must be able to say of Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) Jesus is the perfect mediator between God and man because He is man and He is God. By proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we are declaring that Jesus is God, the Second person of the Holy Trinity (Isaiah 43:11; 45:21; Hosea 13:4; Jude 4).
4) The Gospel Is The Death, Burial And Resurrection Of Jesus Christ – God will give eternal life only to those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:13). Therefore you need to know what the true gospel is. The gospel we are to preach and by which we are saved, is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried and that He was raised from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The gospel is the good news of salvation that Jesus has paid the price for our sins by dying for us and has conquered the power of death by rising from the dead (Romans 8:3; Philippians 3:10-11). Those who pervert this simple message are eternally condemned (Galatians 1:6-9).
5) Jesus Rose From The Dead Physically – When Jesus died His spirit left His body and His body was placed inside a tomb (Luke 23:46). His body did not see decay (Acts 2:26-31). When Jesus rose from the dead His spirit entered His same body that had died (John 2:19-22). The same nail marks were in His hands and there were scares from where the spear had been plunged into His side (John 20:24-27). Having conquered death, His body was no longer a mortal body but a resurrection body, which is immortal (2 Timothy 1:10). To receive eternal life you must confess that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in His resurrection (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:17-20).
6) Salvation Is By Grace Through Faith In Jesus – Jesus is the Saviour of the world and we are saved from the punishment of sin by putting our faith in Him (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14). Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His precious blood (Romans 3:22-26; Romans 5:1-2). Our own good works do not save us. ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast’ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is a gift which we receive by faith. As you believe and trust in Christ, His blood purifies your heart. When a person has sinned, they cannot remove or atone for that sin by trying harder or by doing some extra good works. They must check to see if their faith is really in Jesus.
7) Jesus Is The Only Way To God – Jesus made it clear: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). ‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). ‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 3:11). ‘Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God’ (2 John 9). Those who turn aside from the teachings of Christ will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Many Churches have not equipped their congregations with a basic knowledge of Christianity and that is why so many people fall away. Jesus said, “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:6). Through the sin of unbelief people do not remain in Christ (Hebrews 3:19). The Bible clearly shows that a Christian will lose their salvation if they drift away from Jesus and begin to deny Him (John 8:24; Romans 11:17-22; Hebrews 2:1-3; 10:26-31).