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Essence of the Faith:

            The essence of our faith reveals to us several things of great importance.  One of these is how society is changing and Christianity is taking a hard hit.  We have heard how the Secret Service oversees counterfeit money detection.  If they want to learn what counterfeit money looks like, they do not study counterfeit, but real money.  In doing so they can distinguish between the two.  In much of the same way, we as Christians must learn to detect the false messages about this society.  We must learn the solid teaching in the Bible so we may comprehend the false teachings.  Our ability to do so is based upon the Holy Spirit leadership in God's Truth.  Basic views may be recognized in our knowing the essence and character of God:

Omnipotent: God is all powerful.

Omniscient: God is all knowing.

Omnipresent: God is always everywhere.

Eternal: God has no beginning and no end.

Immutable: God never changes.

            In understanding these principles, we grasp the fullness of the Bible.  Yet, there is so more written in the Bible about our relationship.  As we look around, we may think Christianity is dying!  We ask ourselves, how has it changed?  First off, the basic principle has not, and will never change.  Interpretation of the Gospel has always been a major stumbling block to a vast majority of the population.  Paul becomes involved in his letter to the Galatians.  "6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ.  8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.  10 For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.  11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:6-12

            Paul makes it very clear Jesus revealed to him the "absolute Truth".  When others try to sway you with "new revelations", or a new "new and improved message", reject them and their new message.  This is not so easily done because "false prophets" come with enticing messages in trying to deceive God's people.  There are many famous false prophets that have been revealed so everyone may see them.  However, with the media (good and bad) of today, a few have deceived many with a message of what we call a "social gospel".  This type of gospel is either shallow in taking only part of the true Message or filled with semi references to self-promotion.  An example of this is the "prosperity gospel" so many are enticed to follow for it is all about self and leaves the sacrificial Message of the Gospel out.

            The foundation of the Gospel is giving of "self" and not what it can give us.  We refer to the true Gospel as an "explosion" and not a "implosion."  Under the current trending of self-promoting Christianity, we see "humanistic" approaches engulfing the faith.  Lifestyles change, foundational Biblical Truth is converted to a more acceptable truth.  In all things we see a changing of the "Gospel" of the Bible-so much that we rewrite the Scripture by reinterpreting them.  When we change the Message we go directly against God's purpose, and He cannot bless.  We will now list aspects of society that is bent upon destroying Christianity.       

Influences on the Faith:

            Education and science-i.e. evolution

            Cultural moral and ethical changes

            Different philosophies-agnostic or atheist

            Influence of other belief systems

            Questioning Biblical interpretation

            Generational perceptions

            Religious scandals

            Political influence

            Extremist influence

            Humanistic influence

            Media portrayal-propaganda  

            Cults influence-misinformation

            Division in interpretations

            Charismatic's negative influences

             Spiritualism rise-crystals, etc.

            Man pleasers-social gospel

            Examine each of these and realize there are many negative influences upon our staying true to God.  These open the door to our visualizing the threat.  Many are interconnected and we may see these in the media, the internet, in our schools/colleges, and even in our Churches.  This is a real problem when we get away from the foundational faith the Bible speaks of and follow a watered down socially acceptable message.  God is not pleased!  God cannot bless this movement, even though He seems to.  Many people feel a need for "new and improved" due to errant leadership.  The problem is, how do we know a false teaching and teachers?  That is a great question that is difficult to answer!  However, as we shared in the beginning, we must know the foundational Truths of the Bible so we may recognize the false teachings.  If you hear anything new, we should question the teacher, the message, and the interpretation.  "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." John 4:1

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