Our Beliefs: 1. The Bible

Posted on 11/20/2016 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

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Public Prayer Requests:


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YOUR WORD IS A LAMP

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path

No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness

For you have called us out of darkness
into your marvelous light
We turn our backs on what is wrong
and choose to do what's right

Your blood is flowing through my veins
to cleanse until all that remains
is clay that's molded
through the pains of life

Your Spirit blows into these bones
to claim this temple as its home
and starts a fire
that soon becomes a blaze


EVEN THE MOUNTAINS

We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high

Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name

I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above


WITH ALL THAT I AM

I praise you Lord
I praise you Lord
With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I praise you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I praise you with all that I am
Yes I praise you with all that I am

I'll serve you Lord
I'll serve you Lord
With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I'll serve you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I'll serve you with all that I am
Yes I'll serve you with all that I am

I love you Lord and
I'll love you Lord
With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I love you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I love you with all that I am
Yes I love you with all that I am


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For the next few weeks, my intention is to go through our statement of beliefs and talk about each point mentioned.

That's my intention. We shall see what actually happens. God might have something else in mind, and might use us or circumstances to change my own plans.

But today, let's start with the first item on the list. And, by the way, you can find these statements on the website at almcyberchurch.org. Just click the "What We Believe" link. Or, here in Second Life, you can click one of the three stone pillars with the sign on top that says "Church Information," and the statement of beliefs is embedded in the note card you'll receive.

Some of what we'll be talking about would be considered controversial. So let's dive right in and let some sacred cows go free. I'M not going to barbeque them, and I hope you don't either.


Before we read the first item on the list, let's read the Conclusion:

These are just a few of our conclusions concerning some of the popular points of the Christian faith. We do not believe in our conclusions, nor do we rely on our doctrines or beliefs to save us or connect us with God.

Christians have always had diversity in their theology and will continue to do so until our minds are healed and returned to their pre-sin roles as tools rather than dictators and gods.

And we step back and see the mind and all other temporary forms for what they are, as we return to the one central tenant that frees us from worshiping any form:

Be Fully Present Now.


Okay. So the point here is that we cannot trust our own understanding to lead us into all truth.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (TLS*) says,

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not dwell in or rely upon your own understanding.
6 Know Him in all things, and He will direct your paths, making them plain and straight.

Other versions say do not trust in, or do not lean upon, your own understanding. So when we say the role of our minds before sin was as tools, and not as dictators and gods, this is what we mean.

We trust in, dwell in, rely upon, our own understanding. We trust our beliefs, those things our minds have concluded that we are certain will ensure we escape torment in hell. But we are told in this passage in Proverbs that we should NOT trust in or rely upon our own understanding.

In John 16:13, Jesus says that when the Spirit of Truth comes, the Holy Spirit, He will guide us into all truth. Not our understanding of the Scriptures or our perfect grasp of doctrines and traditions, but the Spirit.

Now this could become an entire message all by itself. But I will briefly point out that anyone who says they have the Holy Spirit is likely to be convinced that what they believe the Bible means or God wants, is a direct word from the Holy Spirit Himself.

It might be. Or it might not be. How can you know? Should you depend on your own understanding of how God speaks and how you can know when it's Him? Or should you simply do right now what you intuit is the right thing to do, and put your trust not in whether YOU have, indeed, done the right thing, but instead, put your full trust in GOD.

HE is the one who saves you, redeems you, guides you, delivers you, and holds your life in His hand. NOT your mind. NOT your understanding. NOT your beliefs. But HIM, and HIM ALONE.

And observe when the mind gets puffed up by its own pride, and creates a divide between you and some other person or group, because THEY don't know the truth like YOU do. You could be right, or
THEY could be right.

EIther way, you cannot trust in your rightness to save you and to lead you into Truth. That's God's job, and He's the only One who is qualified for it.

And so, we do what we believe is the right thing to do right now, and we step back, release control of it to God, and we Be Fully Present Now. Resting in His Presence and in His Peace. That is, after all, what it really means to be Alive.


Okay. So let's dive into reading the first item in the list.

1. The Bible

Jesus spoke of the Law and the Prophets, which is what makes what we call the Torah. He validated them and said of them that they cannot lie (or "be broken"). They point to Him, and thus to God.

The protestant Bible is composed of 66 books, and the Bibles used by some other branches contain more. The books of the Bible we have today were compiled by the Catholic church in the 1500s.

Any teaching or writing which is in agreement with the writings Jesus confirmed as containing the written Word of God can be accepted. The Holy Spirit gives discernment, and we must learn to hear and thus follow the voice of the Holy Spirit concerning whatever we read, so that we can discern whether it points to the same Truth as the men and women of God have spoken throughout history.

We believe the writings in the New Testament are a reliable account of the life and teachings of Jesus and the activities and doctrines of the early Church.


Alright. That's enough to start a war, isn't it. But you know what? You don't have to believe what I just read. If you believe that everything Paul wrote, for example, is infalible truth straight from the mouth of God, God's not going to send you to hell any more than He would if you were like the Bereans who took everything the early Church leaders wrote and weighed it against what was written in the Scriptures that Jesus affirmed as being true.

I simply cannot, in good conscience, claim to believe something simply because most other Christians believe it, or because it is considered by most leaders to be indisputable, well-established doctrine.

Most of us would agree that the New Testament writings are inspired by God. But you are free, you really are, to question. To compare. To open up the words of the Messiah. To take a closer look at the writings He called The Scriptures.

You might, like many, many others, find that the New Testament writings are all in perfect agreement with those Scriptures. The point is NOT to throw away early Church doctrines if you don't like them.

The point IS to stop worshiping beliefs; to stop trusting in, or leaning upon, your own understanding, or the understanding of other minds; and instead, to KNOW HIM in ALL THINGS, in EVERY MOMENT; not as an idea in the head, or a library of facts and mental concepts, but in a direct experience with Him in His Holy Temple.

And yes, the passage which tells us that your body is the temple of the Spirit of God is a New Testament writing. And I believe it is 100% true. Do you find that confusing? Then you have misunderstood what I am saying here today.

And that's okay. Stop depending on, leaning upon, trusting in, your own understanding. In all things, KNOW HIM. And HE will direct your paths. HE will make them plain and straight. Not the whole thing in the imaginary future, but THIS step you are taking RIGHT NOW.

He might bring to your remembrance something written in the Old Testament. Or to the writings of the early Church fathers. Or to the words Jesus spoke. Or to a still, small voice, a knowing deep within.


You really don't have to understand all of this. Or ANY of this. TRUST IN GOD, NOT IN YOUR ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND OR FIGURE IT ALL OUT. THAT is the point I want us to get today.

And once you grasp THAT, put your trust completely in Him, and let go of your firm clinging to all the rest, you will be fully at peace. And you will Know the Truth, and HE will set you Free.