Christianity for all practical purposes is anchored on the doctrine of Christ. These are principles of eternal truth that originated in God. They sprang from the plan of redemption made by God in eternity past.
The foundation of the doctrine of Christ is predicated on two statements made by the Lord at the beginning and towards the end of His first coming ministry.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
To be born again is to believe in the vicarious sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ for human redemption.
This was amplified by Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost when he told his hearers to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39 NKJV).
Apostle Paul also said: “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:8-10 NKJV)
The second statement by Jesus was to the effect that “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (Jn 3:5 NKJV)
On these two pillars rest the doctrine of Christ that birthed the gospel of grace of God.
Towards the end of first coming assignment on earth, Jesus amplified the two pillars by commissioning His followers:
Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20 NKJV)
The original Apostles understood the twin assignments of preaching the gospel to unbelievers wherever they are found and teaching those who believe the commandments of the Lord. As a result, they designed a module termed ‘Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship.’
The Apostles’ doctrine is not another set of fundamental truth but designs for practical application of the concepts in the doctrine of Christ. The Apostles’ fellowship was the vehicle for communicating the commandments of the Lord to believers to enable them grow in grace from babyhood to maturity in Christ.
Regarding the Lord’s first doctrinal statement, how do you determine that a person is born again and have seen the kingdom of God? The Apostles considered the matter and came up with a three-pronged formula:
Salvation testimony or evidence. For instance, on the Day of Pentecost when it was evident that 3,000 souls had been saved and in the house of Cornelius.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit; and
Baptism in water by immersion
With respect to the second doctrinal statement, the Apostles set up cells where a manageable number of believers met on regular basis for spiritual growth.
“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Cor 14:26)
“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” (1 Cor 12:28)
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