Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 2 Lesson 11 Sabbath Afternoon
Read second paragraph,
“But Satan launched a two-pronged attack. Certainly, persecution from the outside-that is, brute force and violence-was a powerful tool. But the church faced another threat, one perhaps even more dangerous than outside persecution. And that was the threat from inside. Just as the Jewish nation in the past had to deal with false prophets, the follower of Jesus in Peter’s day had to deal with false teachers who would “secretly introduce destructive heresies” (2 Pet. 2:1, NIV) into the church itself. And, even worse, Peter warned that many would follow these “destructive ways” (2 Pet. 2:2, NKJV).”
Does Christianity still face the problem of false teachings today?
What teachings do you find within Christianity today that are false?
I am not a denominationalist—meaning I do not believe a person is saved based on membership in a particular denomination.
If people believe salvation is by belonging to a particular denomination, would that be a true or false teaching?
But having said that, I am familiar with some distinct teachings among the various denominations, I thought I might review some of them and see if any of these are essential in determining a genuine Christian:
- The Scriptures are inspired by God
- There is one true God who exists in the triune perfection of love—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Jesus is the divine member of the Godhead who is identified as God’s Son and who became human, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, rose again to life and ascended to heaven
- God is the Creator and the world was created in seven literal days and God rested on the seventh day creating the Sabbath as a gift for human beings. Life did not evolve on its own.
- Human beings were created in God’s image, with their own unique individuality and freedom to make their own choices
- There is a conflict between God and Satan waging in the minds of intelligent beings over who to trust
- Jesus became human, lived a sinless life and died on the cross for the purpose of defeating Satan, saving humankind, and securing the universe unfallen
- God’s works via the Holy Spirit to heal and transform every human being who will let Him
- Those who are transformed by the Holy Spirit having immersed their hearts in God’s love and truth, and, when able, give public witness by the ritual of water baptism
- Those who trust God and are united in love are known as God’s church and they work together to reach other people with God’s healing grace
- The Holy Spirit enables those who trust God to fulfill roles by providing abilities or gifts for the fulfillment of their calling
- God is Sovereign and His law is unchangeable
- Jesus is in heaven directing all the agencies at His disposal to defeat evil, Satan and to save and heal all who will let Him
- The wages or result of unhealed sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in an earth made new.
- Jesus is coming again soon in the clouds of heaven, visibly to resurrect the righteous dead and translate the righteous living to heaven, the wicked will die the first death and the earth will be barren for 1000 years, followed by the resurrection of the wicked, the final judgment and the eradication of all sin, pain, and death itself and then the universe will be cleansed and the earth made new.
Now, if a person believes all of these things, what would that make them?
Hmmm…. doesn’t Satan and all his rebellious angels believe every one of these things?
Isn’t it true that an intelligent being can believe every one of these beliefs to be true and be a devil, be Satan himself, God’s worse enemy?
So, does believing such things make one a Christian?
Is there a lie operating here somewhere? It is a lie that we are Christians by attestation to a set of beliefs and by joining a particular denomination and by public baptism.
Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
What is necessary to be a true Christian—to hold to a specific set of beliefs, or to have the heart transformed from selfishness to Christlike love?
And what is necessary to have the heart transformed to Christlike love? Knowing God—having the lies of God removed and knowing God personally, individually, intimately for who He is as revealed by Jesus Christ, which results in unity of heart, mind and character—we are at-one with God again.
“This is life eternal that they might know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3
And what prevents people from truly knowing God? Lies, false teachings, which create believers who believe in systems of theology, creeds, fundamental beliefs, but who still do not know God and who are not transformed to be like Jesus in character.
And what is the core lie within Christianity that obstructs people from knowing God?
The false law—the idea that God’s law is imposed and requires inflicted punishment, which results in people creating doctrines that are designed to function how? The doctrines function by separating people from God, by hiding them from God, by protecting them from God rather than reconciling them to Him. This is the majority of Christianity, think of the barriers of false ideas about God that have been built up in the minds and practices of so many Christians. Can you name any?
~I need an intercessor between me and God to plead my case to God and persuade Him not to punish me for my sins
- In Catholicism it is not only Jesus, but Mary and the saints who plead to God and the priests to whom sins are confessed because God couldn’t tolerate us if there wasn’t someone in between
- In Protestantism it is Jesus who is our advocate pleading His blood or merits to the Father reminding the Father that He has paid the price for our sins so the Father doesn’t punish us
~I need someone to hide my sins from God
- In Catholicism it is Jesus, Mary and the Saints who hide our sins from God by covering them with the blood of Jesus; when we partake the Mass Jesus then applies His sacrifice to erase the sin from records and keeps God from seeing it and acting to punish
- In Protestantism it is Jesus applying His blood to our record books to erase the record of sins, or covering us with His robe of righteousness, which is taught that His perfect sinless life gets recorded in our record book so when our records are open we have the life of Jesus recorded there so the Father only sees Jesus’ sinless life and not our own.
~I need someone to pay my debt
- In Catholicism it is Jesus, along with our works, penances, indulgences and other activities combined that pay our debt so the Father doesn’t have to punish
- In Protestantism it is Jesus who paid our complete debt to God so He doesn’t have to punish
Do you see how these doctrines function? To hide or protect us from God? Why? Because believing the lie about God’s law we believe the lie God must inflict punishment, thus we are never truly reconciled to God, we don’t really known Him and we certainly don’t trust Him. Thus we continue to live in fear, rather than being transformed back to beings who love God and others more than self.
It also leads to the concern that salvation is based on having the right doctrinal beliefs—thus if we can collect the right list of beliefs, and swear allegiance to that set of beliefs then we are saved. This leads to centuries long arguments among Christians over doctrines:
- What day to worship upon?
- Which method of baptism?
- Eternal or limited hell?
- Trinity or no trinity?
- Why did Jesus have to die?
Are we saved by knowing the right answers to any of these questions?
It is a lie that having the right doctrines results in salvation—what is the true purpose of doctrines? What they tell us about God, how they bring us into a closer intimacy with Him uniting our hearts with His, so that we are transformed to be like Jesus in heart!
The right way to approach any list of doctrines is to ask, if this is true what kind of being would God be? What does it say about God? Does this teaching increase trust or undermine trust in God? etc.
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