Good Morning Brothers…
Well…football is over. It is a great time to get back to the basics of our faith. Which begs the question we asked last week, “What is the basics, the fundamentals, of Christianity?” Now, since we visited last, I have flown out to Oregon to visit my parents and back again. Along the way I read a book about the ‘Angelic Conflict’. This book contained a propositional explanation of the spiritual war occurring in the heavens. How it started, God’s judgement, and how it is still playing out and spilling over onto humanity. Interesting…but certainly not the basics. I also read a book about how ancient Chinese writing contains the creation story, the fall of man, and most of the Old Testament accounts up to the ‘tower of Babel’ embedded in the symbols they use for written language. The theory is that when God dispersed the people of the world at the ‘tower of Babel’, some of those people became the Chinese. They recorded pre-tower history into their language hundreds of years before Moses wrote the Book of Genesis. Again, very interesting…but not the fundamentals. The flight from Denver to Wichita found me sitting next to a young lady who started up a conversation about missions and reaching the world for Jesus Christ. I happily engaged her in conversation and we talked about mission trips, discipling, the Bible, and the power of prayer. She wanted to share one of her favorite prayers with me and she reached into her bag and pulled out the Book of Mormon……!?!
At that moment, I realized how important the fundamentals of our faith can be.
Many of you shared with me via email, text, voice, and through the comments section of this blog your thoughts on the fundamentals. All of them are very good. You really didn’t make my job any easier at narrowing them down, but caused me to think about them all the more. If the fundamentals are the foundation by which faith is given, and then built, then I believe I will start with this. In Exodus 3:14, God is answering a question from Moses about ‘Who’ He is. 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
God is the ‘I AM’. I think this is the first brick in my foundation of faith. Without God being ‘I AM’, I’m not sure what my faith would be built on. The Scriptures are filled with passages where God describes himself with this declaration. Here are a few samples:
- I am the Lord
- I am the Lord your God
- I am the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob
- I am God Almighty
- I am a shield to you
- I am with you
- I am gracious
- I am the Lord who sanctifies
- I am holy
- I am your portion and inheritance
Flipping to the New Testament, I find another ‘I AM’ dialogue taking place with the spokesman being none other than Jesus. A few samples:
- I am gentle and humble in heart
- I am willing; be cleansed
- I am the bread of life
- I am there in their midst
- I am the Light of the world
- I am from Him
- I am the way, the truth, and the life
- I am the ‘Son of God’
- I am with you always
And finally this fantastic verse from John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
Without the ‘I AM’s’, my faith would be in nothing but an ideal. With the ‘I AM’s’, my faith is in a living, vibrant, holy, gracious, God who provides, and is, the answer to all things. Stacking up the ‘I AM’s’ of God results in a sturdy, storm proof, foundation ready for the next fundamental element of faith. For this, I turn to Galatians 4:9, and only use the first part of the verse, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God…” I only use the first part of the verse because Paul is using this statement in the middle of a scolding to the ‘bewitched’ Galatians. Its a great passage and I encourage you to read Chapter 4 over and over again. For our purposes, the Apostle Paul sums up for me, in a half of sentence, a ‘basic’ or ‘fundamental’ of our faith. To not only ‘know’ God but to be ‘known’ by God.
The difference is in the ‘knowing’. I know of people who don’t actually know me. Most people believe in God, heck, the demons believe in God. Believing in God is not the point of God being all of those ‘I AM’s’…God knowing us, as family, as adopted sons, as co-heirs with Christ, as the bride, as the body, is the point of all of those ‘I AM’s’. God provides us with everything we need, for us, to be ‘known’ by Him. If that statement is a little confusing, scroll up and read through the list again. When I think about Christianity, our faith, and the fundamentals that makes it all stand up to the insults, the ‘new’ evidence junk that proves the Bible false, or proves Jesus wasn’t who He said He was, the persecutions, the attacks by everybody else…I think about our God being the great ‘I AM’ and I desire to be ‘known’ by Him.
God being the ‘I AM’ God, and my desire to be ‘known’ by Him are the basics of my faith. Everything else springs from there.