Seven Undeniable Beliefs Of The
Original New Testament Church
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and thank
you for your interest in this non-denominational Bible study. When a person
lays everything aside and independently studies the Word of God without all
the preconceived ideas, opinions, religious creeds, statements, declarations,
articles of faith, traditions, etc., God will unfold His Glorious Truth in
its entirety to them. This Bible study focuses on seven undeniable beliefs
of the original New Testament Church ... which are:
1) The absolute authority of the Word of God.
2) The absolute Deity of Jesus Christ.
3) Repentance being absolutely essential as the first step in one's approach
4) Water Baptism in the name of Jesus as per Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48 and Acts 19:5, thus fulfilling the "NAME" (singular) alluded to in the command of Matthew 28:19.
5) Receiving the Holy Spirit (the Bible way .. see Acts 2:1-4, Acts 10:44-48
and Acts 19:1-7).
6) Living a clean and godly life of separation and sanctification. While
reaching out to a lost and dying world with a message of hope. And standing
against sin, idolatry and the false doctrines of man. Not failing to assemble
to worship God where the nine Gifts of the Spirit (the word of wisdom, the
word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles,
prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues and the interpretation
of tongues - 1 Corinthians 12:8-10) and the nine Fruit of the Spirit (love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance
- Galatians 5:22-23) are manifested and are still in operation.
7) Embracing the supernatural power and miracles of God, and being able
to distinguish between the genuine operation of the Holy Spirit and the
counterfeit works of darkness.
I believe there is a cry going forth today for truth and reality by people
everywhere! The time has come for those who believe the The Holy Bible and
in the coming of our LORD, to "set their houses in order." We must not allow
the deception, confusion and the mixed signals that we are bombarded with
each day to distract us from the things that are REALLY important! Neither
should we seek council from those who "talk the talk" but "don't walk the
walk!" Though they travel the wide road of ease, comfort and acceptance,
there is a straight and narrow path that only a "few" will find. According
to the Bible, only a "few" will travel that straight and narrow path which
leads to the Heavenly City where there will be no more sorrow, tears, pain,
suffering or burdens to bear!
This Bible study is a combination of things I have read, researched and/or
studied over a period of years, and is being presented here to assist any
honest person who desires the TRUTH of God's Word "in its entirety" with
absolutely "no strings attached." My motive is NOT for material gain, to
make a name for myself, or to build up some organization. I am just a
non-denominational layman ... an ordinary person ... who had something out
of the ordinary to happen in his life.
There are a couple of things I want to share with you about our ability
to learn. If you don't already know the following Bible verse, and you can
repeat it back, verbatim, after reading it only once, then you are one of
a few who can retain things after only being exposed to something once. However,
if you can't repeat it without leaving something out or getting something
turned around, then you are like most of us ordinary people who must be exposed
to something repeatedly before we can retain it ... even when we are trying
to retain it. Anyway, see if you can quote the following Bible verse, verbatim,
after reading it only once. Here it is. It may be one you already know:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
If you did not already have this verse memorized before this reading,
but can repeat it back word for word right now without messing up, then your
ability to learn is definitely exceptional. You should be thankful. However,
if you are like the rest of us ordinary folks, who learn by repetition, that
is nothing to be ashamed of.
Secondly, I want to share with you something a friend sent me to test
my comprehension. This is not a trick. There are no hidden things to trip
you up. It is just a simple test. Don't cheat!
Read this sentence only once:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE-
SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIF-
IC STUDY COMBINED WITH
THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS.
Now go back and count aloud the "F's" in that sentence. Count them ONLY
ONCE. After counting only once, how many did you come up with?
This simple test proves that some people's comprehension is better than
others. However, once a person whose comprehension is not as sharp as someone
else understands this, and goes back over the material again, they too can
see things they didn't see bebore. How many "F's" did you count? There are
six of them in the sentence. I only got three my first time around (I missed
all of the "F's" in the "OF's"). Most people don't catch the "F's" in "OF"
the first time around.
These two demonstrations are meant to point out that we may not get the
whole picture the first time around ... or see what we "think" we see ...
or know what we "think" we know. Some of us can grasp something the first
time we read it, but the rest of us usually have to read it again.
It usually takes repetition to learn anything new. Do you remember the
first time you got behind the steering wheel of an automobile? What about
the first time you got on a bicycle? Or how about the first time you put
on a pair of skates or skis? What about learning to swim or jumping off a
diving board? Do you see what I mean?
We are creatures of habit. We sleep on the same side of the bed, sit at
the same place at the table, put on the same shoe first, fold our arms and
cross our legs the same way. And the list of habits goes on and on. Habits
are not inherently good or evil. There are good habits, bad habits and just
plain ole everyday habits, like the ones just mentioned. Generally speaking,
though, people are extremely reluctant to get out side of their "comfort
zone," because most of us resist anything that does not feel "normal." Most
of the things we have learned over the years, we often just take for granted.
But remember, those things that may be our "second nature" now, did not feel
"normal" to us at one point in our life. Our mind is sort of like a lake.
As long as fresh water continues to flow into it, there is life. But in the
absence of fresh water, it is just a matter of time before things start to
die. Life is a continual growing and learning process. It pays to always
keep this simple little truth fresh in our minds.
***** What Is Truth? *****
Pilate asked Jesus this all important question about 2,000 years
ago in St. John 18:38. Many are still asking this question today. With so
many different denominations and religious crusaders, many of whom clash,
disagree, and even dispute with one another, it is no small wonder why many
people may be asking this question today.
Can a hungry heart find Truth today, or has God hidden His face from
all humanity? Must we be specially trained (indoctrinated) by some religious
organization before we can understand God's Word? Can an "ordinary person"
with average intelligence pick up the Holy Bible and find out for them selves
what is truly ordained of God and what is really just traditions and doctrines
of men? How does one study the Bible? Where do you begin? Does the Bible
contradict itself? Is the Bible really God's inspired Word, or is it just
a collection of writings by different people over time who recorded their
view of history, philosophy, etc.? Aren't religious denominations, like many
other organizations, just out to recruit as many as they can in order to
enjoy the status, financial benefits, power and prestige that comes along
with having a large membership? Is there a way the "ordinary person" with
average intelligence can "screen" the many doctrines and beliefs themselves,
using only the Word of God to identify what is Truth in its entirety, and
expose error, deceit and out right lies?
This material has been expressly put together to answer many questions
that have, in my opinion, disturbed many people for far too long! It is late
in the day. There is not a lot of time left, but there is still very much
to be done. I grew up in a mainline denominational church in rural Mississippi,
and never once questioned or evaluated my own beliefs until the day I came
in contact with what was presented to be the APOSTLES' DOCTRINE. I believed
in God and the Bible (although biblically illiterate at the time), and had
accepted Christ as my personal Savior, and was a baptized member of that
church. So, I really didn't feel that the APOSTLES' DOCTRINE would be anything
that I didn't already know. I had already read it, right?
Boy, was I in for a shock! I came face to face with things that I had
never even thought about, much less heard of in all years. It wasn't too
many years after that, that I started what was to become a real "journey" in my life.
While I have come a very long way from that particular place, I have a very long way to go to be like my Lord. However, that is what we all should be striving for.
I owe a great debt to a great many people whose material I have come
across over the course of these many years (both pro and con on a number
of issues). You see, I was not (and am not) afraid of God's TRUTH in its
entirety, and I really desired to know. I owe the greatest of all
debts to my Lord and Savior, who purchased my salvation and revealed some
things to me.
One night, while studying alone, I received a startling revelation from
God's Word, in a small railroad depot way back in the woods at Roxie,
Mississippi. The Bible became "alive" to me that night, and my understanding
was dramatically increased. I could see things that I had never seen before.
It was as if I had been gazing into a 3-D picture, when all of a sudden "I
saw it." I saw something that I had not seen before, though it had been staring
me in the face all along. I've spent untold hours in diligent and prayerful
study of the Word of God since then. My Bible is EXTREMELY special to me, it has been my constant friend, companion and guide because from its pages I've
gleaned so much insight. Each time I go through it, there seems to be a new facet waiting to be noticed ... wouldn't you agree?
I am not a highly educated person. Nor do I possess seminary training
with secular titles or degrees to place behind my name. I'm not a preacher,
pastor or evangelist. I am just an ordinary person who had something out
of the ordinary to happen in his life. In Acts 4:13 the high priest, rulers,
elders and scribes witnessed the boldness of Peter and John and "perceived
that they were unlearned and ignorant, yet they took knowledge of them because
THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS"! That, my dear friend, is what made the difference
then, and that is what makes the difference now.
I've learned enough about human nature, personal commitment and self
discipline to know that some of you will not complete this material. We live
in a very self centered society, a world of greed, lack of self restraint
and of instant gratification. The "I have mine, you get yours," or "I want
mine right now" mind set prevails. My most earnest and sincere prayer is
that you are one of the "few", who like myself, are hungry for ALL of God's
TRUTH regardless of what others may say, do or think. I made a decision years
ago not to stick my head in the sand when I came across something that I
did not understand. As a result, I've spent "untold hours" studying, discussing
and even debating different views. My edge has always been my total and complete
trust and confidence in the Word of God; being unafraid of what I may find
in God's Word; and my willingness to acknowledge error and accept any new
knowledge that is "ordained" of God and validated by His Word. I submit to
you that the number of truly independent thinking, independent studying Bible
students is relatively few!
God's Word is true and precious. Like a golden thread woven throughout
a garment, God's Truth is woven throughout the Bible. Jesus spoke in parables
not to confuse or mislead but rather to reveal to those who had "ears to
hear." Can a person hear, yet not really hear or see and not really see?
You'd better believe it! That is one of the main causes for such division
today. Many cling to the traditions and doctrines of man rather than opening
up their hearts and minds each time they open up their Bible. In other words,
their mind is already made up, and God (being the Gentleman He is) cannot
(or will) not force Himself on them or reveal things to them. Then there
are those who have "preacher religion." They are following the person regardless
of whether they are following Christ or the almanac. We must dig into the
rich Word of God if we expect to tap into that rich, pure vein of Gold. Jesus
said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39).
1 John 4:1 reads, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits
whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone into the world."
The word "try" here does not mean try as in "try it, you may like it." It
means to "try" as in "test" or "put to the test."
Revelation 2:2 reads, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience,
and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them
which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars." The
Greek word "tried" here also means "to test."
I hope it is plain for you to see that we MUST be able to "try" or test
the many spirits (beliefs, doctrines and principles) that confront us each
day and distinguish between the "genuine" and the "counterfeit." Sometimes
something is so obviously false that anyone can make the distinction, but
there are instances when only a "trained eye" can detect the falsehood, such
as a bank teller detecting a counterfeit bill that the ordinary person would
probably never notice. With all the conflicting messages today, all of which
claim to be "the way," it is no wonder why many have become so cynical and
skeptical when it comes to anything having to do with religion.
Actually, the terms "Christian" and "Born Again" are so loosely used
and applied today by so many that they have become bywords which have little
or no meaning to a lot of people. This, in my opinion, is a real tragedy
for those of us who love America, and appreciate the stand our forefathers
took in establishing this great country upon the undeniable principles of
the Holy Bible, and stating: IN GOD WE TRUST!
It is my plan to share with you here SEVEN UNDENIABLE BELIEFS OF THE
NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. After you have gone through this material I believe
it will be easy for you to evaluate (try) the doctrine of any organization
or church, using only the Word of God, to determine whether it is Truth in
its entirety which is built upon the unshakable foundation of the Word of
God or if it is just part truths which are built upon the shifting sands
of the traditions of men. I will just simply ask that if you find something
wrong, or even if you just think something is wrong, with what I present
here and/or how I present it, that you will call it to my attention so I
can see if I have dropped the ball somewhere, O.K.? Being "about right" or
"close" isn't good enough, unless we're talking about throwing horse shoes
or hand grenades. When it comes to spiritual matters, I want to be right
on the mark, don't you???
Scriptures that have been taken out of their original context are pretty
easy to detect. However, this strategy is used by many who wish to just find
a scripture to support their particular point of view. In Exodus 20:13 we
find God's commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," but in Acts 10:13 we find
Peter being told by a voice from Heaven to "kill and eat," and in Matthew
5:21-22 Jesus said that being angry with our brother without a cause is like
killing. No one in their right mind would attempt to use these scriptures
to say that God contradicted Himself. While all of the scriptures are true,
they are used in totally different contexts. 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us
that God is not the author of confusion, but confusion runs rampant in our
world today. And there are many divisions among people who all claim to be
going to the same place, many of whom use the same Bible.
In Matthew 5:17 Jesus said that He came not to destroy the law but to
FULFILL the law. In Deuteronomy 6:6 and Jeremiah 31:31-34 we find where God,
centuries before, promised to write the law or His "new covenant" in our
hearts at some future time. Also, keep in mind that the time of Jesus' earthly
ministry was a very unique time in human history because the Old Testament
(Law) dispensation was drawing to a close and the New Testament (Grace)
dispensation was being ushered in following about 400 years of silence separating
the two. There had been no great prophets in the land and the people became
steeped in traditions, formality and rituals which always leads to legalism
and hypocrisy (sounds a lot like what is going on today, doesn't it?). I
hope you understand what I am talking about here. When it comes to the Word
of God, we must allow the Word to interpret Itself. The Bible is written
so perfectly that it will actually interpret Itself. One of the oldest (and
lamest) excuses in the book for there being so many different denominations
is because there are many different interpretations of the Bible. I can assure
you, what it says to me it says to you and vice versa. God doesn't need the
assistance of man to interpret His Word. He did not leave us a with partially
filled out page that we have to fill in the blanks! However, it is IMPERATIVE
that we lay aside our preconceived ideas and notions that we may have, and
allow God's Word to interpret Itself.
There are just a couple of other things that I need to point out before
we get into the nitty gritty: 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that ALL scripture
is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for instruction in righteousness. But for the sake of time, I will not be
going through each and every scriptural discourse. What I mean is, I will
bring in the key points that apply to the topic being discussed and not reading
the entire discourse (that is your job, O.K.?). In 2 Peter 1:20 we read that
"no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." That just
"nuked" that old lame excuse about there being so many different interpretations.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 we learn that we are to "study to shew thyself approved
unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the
word of truth."
Please use your Bible as we go along to verify every point and
do NOT take my word for anything, regardless or how much or how little you
may think you know about the Bible. If the message of any church, or a person's
beliefs are in harmony with these SEVEN UNDENIABLE BELIEFS, then you can
rest assured it is ordained of God. If their message or beliefs are not in
harmony with these SEVEN UNDENIABLE BELIEFS, that doesn't necessarily make
the church (or person) evil or false. Deceived, misled or Biblically illiterate,
maybe. But not necessarily evil and false. In Acts 18:24-28 a man by the
name of Apollos did not have the full revelation of the Gospel message, although
he was an eloquent speaker. When Aquila and Priscilla expounded the way of
God more perfectly to him, he received it and was mightily used of God! This
is the Apollos that the Apostle Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 3:6 when
he said, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."
If a church (or person) immediately launches a vicious attack against
me or any of this material BEFORE OR AFTER they have actually read it, or
if they flatly refuse to carefully evaluate its validity and accuracy, point
by point, then my challenge to them would be simply to prove this material
wrong from the Word of God if they think they can. If they do, I'm man enough
to admit error, make a public apology and accept all that God reveals to
me that is backed up by His Holy Word. You see, if God has more for me I
want it, DON'T YOU???
Your input is encouraged and would be GREATLY appreciated, both pro and
con, because no claim is made on my part that God speaks only to me.
Your friend, brother and fellow labourer in Christ,
Bobby G. Richardson
Seven Undeniable Beliefs of the Original New Testament Church:
# 1: The Word of God: How important is it?
# 2: The testimony of Jesus: Who is HE?
# 3: Repentance: What does it mean to repent?
# 4: Baptism: How important is it?
# 5: The new birth: What does it mean to be born again?
# 6: Sanctification: What is sanctification?
# 7: Miracles and healing: Are they for us today?
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