Posted inForthright Magazine

The basics

In a Bible class recently, brother Rusty Hilliard, with the Central congregation in Haines City, Florida, began his study by quoting from the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7:13-14. Jesus said:

Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it!

Afterwards, Rusty said, “It’s really simple. The basics never change.” Then he added: “Genius isn’t required to understand the Bible; effort is.”

Some brothers want to take steps bigger than their legs can carry them. Perhaps because they value the intellectual side of faith. The diploma is everything. Lack of education is seen as the biggest problem in society. Intellectuals are valued, but not teachers, if you can understand that. Society belongs to the elite.

But the Good News of Christ has nothing to do with the societies of the world, nor with their politics. Just read the first chapter of 1 Corinthians to feel the distance between them. The church of God, however, has not resisted the temptation to turn the gospel into an elite enclave.

Rusty said it takes effort. You certainly don’t want to reward laziness. Understanding will not occur with a bolt of lightning falling from the sky. God does not speak in one’s ear, nor does he appear in a vision. The Scriptures are in our hands. They invite us to investigate them. They contain the spiritual riches of Christ. They require care to handle them correctly.

At the same time, the basics are within everyone’s reach. God wants to save everyone. His will is for everyone to repent. Everyone, therefore, can understand and explain the plan of salvation.

The Good News was designed for every part, or every aspect, of the human being. The mind can understand. The will must decide (return to the initial passage). The feeling rejoices in the experience with God. Effort participates in the work of the Lord. Purpose has a clear and specific definition.

One of the amazing things about the Good News in the book of Acts is how often people obeyed Christ’s command after a single message. Even though the Evil One has sought to complicate the simplicity of the divine message, it can still be presented clearly when we teach the basics.

We have a great advantage over the ancients: In our hands we have the complete Bible, the entire New Testament, God’s complete revelation. Even more, the family of God has been defined so clearly that its identification shows the evil of the denominations.

The sufficiency of Christ shows the bankruptcy of religious systems that multiply authorities, powers and religious figures, helps and idols and resources that have nothing to do with the simplicity of the Good News. When we show that our message that focuses on Jesus matches the simple life we ​​lead in him, we will have a perfect and attractive combination. But the tempter wants to keep us from this integrity. The restoration process continues.

Increasingly, Satan is taking the focus of God’s work away from the congregation of the disciples. We have to resist it. It is necessary to strengthen each community of saints. The multiplication of communities is one of the main keys to this strengthening. The dynamic of Good News must be used and not cancelled.

Brothers and sisters and friends, we still need to go back to the basics. We have not yet completely eliminated the religious complications. Only by returning to the basics will it be possible to grow in faith, develop gifts, serve by the power of God, increase the number of disciples and communities and glorify the name of Christ.

It’s really simple. Because the basics don’t change. We are the ones who need to change for them.


J. Randal Matheny
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