Five Needed Resuscitations
Five Needed Resuscitations
By Dave Breese
In the ongoing of anything in this world, there is an ebb and flow of attention to certain facts and propositions as their seeming importance waxes and wanes. As it is in the world, so it is in the Church. There is a heightening and a fading of attention to the propositions of our existence. These propositions, these facts are called the doctrines of the faith. Yes, the core of our Christianity is not what we do, it is what we believe. Christianity is called the faith which was once delivered to the saints. The elements of that faith, the doctrines of the Church, need to be regularly examined and reinserted in our hierarchy of values to the high degree of their importance.
This being the case, we suggest that there are at least five vital, critically important doctrines which are in a state of severe neglect in our time. They need to be reemphasized, indeed, resuscitated.
Those five needed resuscitations, those doctrines which need in our day to be brought back to attention and paramountcy, are the following:
1. The distinctive nature of the Church.
The Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all (Eph. 1:22,23).
What then is the Church? The Scripture clearly says that the Church is a most remarkable thing, it is the Body of Christ. Therefore the great calling of Christians is to the intent that now to the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).
There is a contrasting doctrine which is emerging within Evangelical Christianity in our times. This is the view that the Church is Israel. Therefore the commission, the mandate which God gave to the nation of Israel is the same as that of the Church today.
This view fails to see that Israel is Gods earthly people with an earthly mission and the Church, the Body of Christ, is Gods heavenly people with a heavenly mission. In eternity, Israel inherits the earth, where the throne of David will be established forever (Ezek. 37:21-28). Abraham and his seed inherit this world (Rom. 4:13) while Christians inherit all things (Rom. 8:32). The false doctrine that the Church is Israel is already leading to many frustrating perversions of Scripture and many misdirected suggestions as to the program of God in the world today.
2. The imminent return of Christ.
Christians are always to be looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:13,14).
Throughout church history, believing Christians have lived in anticipation of the coming of Christ at any moment. The consequence was and is that every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure (I John 3:3). The Rapture of the Church is a cardinal, purifying, thrilling Christian doctrine. Could it be that some of the oft-preached impurities which have come upon the Church are the result of a loss of the sense of the immediacy of the return of Christ?
3. Salvation by grace.
One of the most familiar verses in the New Testament says for by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8,9). Nothing is clearer in Scripture than the fact that salvation comes to us not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us (Titus 3:5). We are justified by His grace (Titus 3:7). Clearly then, salvation comes to us because we believe in the finished work of Christ on Calvarys cross and as a result are made heirs of eternal life.
This blessed doctrine is no longer universally believed by Christians. Many new gospels have come into Evangelicalism in our time which, in one way or another, deny salvation by grace and demand salvation by works. For this reason, many segments of the Church have been rendered powerless, unable to successfully evangelize or properly grow. The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel and the Gospel is what presents salvation as a free gift. The present-day Church, in losing this, is populated by people who have lost the assurance of salvation and merely hope for the best when it comes to thinking about eternal life. Christianity ceases to be Christian the instant it forgets that the grace of God is the sole basis of our salvation.
4. The priesthood of every believer.
The Bible clearly teaches that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5). Therefore, no other person is commissioned in Scripture to a priestly office to mediate between God and man. In Christianity, there are no high priests save one, that is Jesus Christ. In that we have access to Him, every believer is a priest. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:14,15). Because of this, we have ourselves a priestly office. The Scripture says, Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
What a marvelous status we have with the Lord. As believer-priests, we have personal access into the presence of God. Indeed, we are invited to come boldly before His throne of mercy. Untold evil has been pressed upon millions of Christians in that they are denied by the Church the status of a believer-priest. Few doctrinal errors have wrought more mischief than this.
5. The reality of heaven and hell.
Christianity in our time has been greatly limited in that it has become virtually a humanistic religion preached as the answer to the problems of time. While the problems of time have a small degree of importance, they are not to be compared with the limitless joys of eternity. Religious experts on human things are not commended in Scripture (Phil. 3:18,19). Rather, the Scripture teaches the vaporous transience of this life and the contrasting reality and solidity of eternity. This life is our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (II Cor. 4:17). Yes, eternity is a real place and far more real than is this world or the things of today.
What will eternity bring? It will bring heaven to all of those who believe in Jesus Christ. It will bring hell and eternal damnation to all of those who do not believe. Argue as we will, this is what the Bible teaches. Unfortunately, in our time, human reason and even ecclesiastical sentiment has replaced the clear teaching of the Bible. There are Christians everywhere who would testify that they have not heard even a mention of heaven or hell for many years in the church which they attend.
These doctrines must be resuscitated, preached again, first of all because they are true. When Christianity loses its truth content, it is but an empty charade, a pale shadow of what it used to be.
These doctrines also need to be preached because they constitute the only message that will produce any real good in the lives of people. Many of todays Christian gatherings are little more than harmonic convergence.
Powerless will be the pulpit that continues to ignore these doctrines. Empty and dismayed will be the Christian who cannot avail himself of the needed Word which produces spiritual strength. All other religious efforts, which at their core do not clearly present these truths of the Word of God, will be for nothing.
Doctrinal resuscitation is in ordersoon!
Destiny Newsletter continued