One of the first things to do for a newly committed follower of Jesus is to become established in the faith. The object of our walk with Christ is to grow in our relationship with Him. Paul explained that everything he had was nothing compared with the supreme blessing of knowing Christ. He always saw himself, not as having attained the ideal relationship with Him, but pressing on in order to attain it:
Philippians 3:7-16 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,let us be of the same mind.
Jesus’ expectation of His disciples is very high:
John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
The objective of Christian ministry is to help others grow to this level of discipleship:
Ephesians 4:11-16 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
What is needed is a foundation. This passage from Hebrews outlines the foundations of belief that we need to be secure in the faith. Every new believer should receive this foundation. Six topics are listed here:
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will[a] do if God permits.
If we have a good understanding of each of these, we are in a position to go on to “perfection”. The Greek word translated here as “perfection” is “teleiotes”, pronounced “tel-i-o-tace”, which means someone who finishes, or completes. So the passage is telling us that we need this foundation to be able to press on and complete our walk with Christ. Once we have that firm foundation, we don’t need to keep on going over these basic points, but we will need to make sure every new believer firmly grasps them. Presented as a list the topics are:
- 1. Repentance from dead works
- 2. Faith towards God
- 3. Baptisms
- 4. Laying on of hands
- 5. Resurrection of the dead
- 6. Eternal judgment
We will study each topic systematically in this series.
- What was Paul’s most important over-all goal?
- What things did he want to know about Christ?
- Did he consider that he was an expert in the Christian life?
- What about our progress in spiritual growth? Describe Jesus’ expectation of our growth.
- What five types of Christian leader are listed in Ephesians 4?
- What is the purpose of these Christian leaders?
- Make a list of the six topics that we need to understand well in order to have a firm Christian foundation.
- Which of these topics do you have a thorough understanding of?
- Make a goal now to study these topics. (I will be releasing a study on each topic every 2-3 days)
- What Christians do you know who don’t have a thorough grounding in these topics? Make a plan with your house church or group of friends to make sure all have this firm foundation.
Many non-Christians are non-Christians because they do not understand these basic truths. Set a goal to discuss these topics with your non-Christian friends.