Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why Theology Matters

Scripture: Genesis 3.1-19; Rom. 1.18-32; Rom. 6; Rom. 10.9-13; Matt. 4.1-11; Matt. 28.16-20; Acts 8.1-3; Gal. 1-2; John 8.30-59, esp. 8.32
Translation: Genesis 3.1 and the serpent was more clever than all the animals of the field that Yahweh God made. And he said to the woman, "how is that God could say 'Don't ever eat from all the trees of the garden.'" 2 and the woman said to the serpent, "we can eat some of the fruit of the trees of the garden. 3 but from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden God said 'you can't eat from it, and you must not touch it, so that you don't die.'" 4 and the serpent said to the woman, "There's no way you'll die! 5 because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. 6 and the woman saw that the tree was fod for eating and that it was appealing to the eyes and the tree was desirable for giving wisdom. so she took from of its fruit and ate [it] and moreover gave it to her husband with her and he ate [it]. 7 and their eyes were opened and they knew that they were naked. and they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 and they heard the sound of Yahweh God moving around in the garden in the wind of the day. and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God in the middle of the trees of the garden. 9 and Yahweh God called out to the man. and He said to him, "Where are you?" 10 and he said, "I heard Your voice/sound in the garden and I saw that I was naked, so I hid myself." 11 and He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" 12 And the man said, "the woman that You gave me--she gave me [a piece of fruit] from the tree, and I ate [it]. 13 And Yahweh God said to the woman, "What did you do?!" And the woman said, "The serpent tricked me and I ate [some fruit]. 14 So Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you did this, you are cursed more than all the animals and more than all the creatures of the field! You will move on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 and I will put hostility between you and the woman, between your progeny and her progeny. He will hit you on the head and you will hit him on the foot." 16 to the woman He said, "I will greatly intensify your pains and conceptions/pregnacies. in pain you will give birth to sons. Your desire will be towards your husband but he will rule over you." 17 To the man He said, "Because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate from teh tree that I commanded you: 'Don't ever eat from it!" the ground is cursed because of you! In pain you will overpower it all the days of your life. 18 and it will produce thorn bushes and thistles for you. and you will eat the vegetation of the field. 19 And you will eat food by the sweat of your face until you go back to the ground, because from it you were taken, because you are dust and to the dust you will go back."
Matthew 4.1At that time Jesus was lead up into the desert by the Spirit to be tested by the devil. 2And after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, He was finally hungry. 3And the tempter came to Him and said to Him, “If You are God’s Son, say that these rocks should become loaves of bread. 4But He answered and said, “It really is written, ‘Man will not live only on bread, instead [he will live] on every word coming out of the mouth of God!” 5Then the devil took Him with him to the Holy City and stood Him at the top of the Temple 6and said to Him, “If you are God’s Son, throw yourself down, because it really is written that “He will command His angels for You, and they will carry You by hand, so that you don’t strike your foot against a stone.” 7Jesus said to him, “Again it really is written “Don’t utterly test the Lord Your God!” 8Again the devil took Him with him to a very tall mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory 9and said to Him, “I will give all these things to you, if you will fall down and worship/swear allegiance to me!” 10Then Jesus was saying to him, “Go away, Satan! Because it really is written, “You will worship/swear allegiance to the Lord Your God and serve/worship only Him!” 11Then the devil left Him. And look, angels came and were serving Him.
Romans 10.9[The message of faith is] that if you confess with your mouth that ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, 10because with the heart it is believed resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth it is confessed resulting in salvation, 11because the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12because there’s no difference between Jew and even Greek, because the same Lord is over all, and is rich for all those calling on Him, 13because whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved!”
Romans 1.18You see, the wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven on all impiety and unrighteousness of men who disregard the truth in unrighteousness.
Romans 6.1So what will we say? “Let’s stay in sin, so that grace can overflow?” 2Never! We, the people who died to sin, how will we still live in it? 3Or don’t you know that whoever gets baptized into Christ Jesus gets baptized into His death? 4So, we were buried with him through baptism into His death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so too we can walk in new life. 5for if we became united with the likeness of His death, instead we will also be united with His resurrection! 6knowing this, that our old person was crucified with Him, so that the body of sin could be destroyed, with the result that we are no longer enslaved to sin, 7because the person who dies really is being made right from sin. 8Thus, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ who was raised from the dead no longer dies: death no longer rules over Him. 10you see, what died died for sin once for all. And what lives lives for God. 11So also you, consider yourselves dead to sin on the one hand and living for God in Christ on the other! 12So, sin must not reign as king in your mortal body with the result that you obey its desires. 13And don’t offer your body parts to sin as tools of unrighteousness, instead offer yourselves to God as those living from the dead and your body parts to God as tools of righteousness! 14you see, sin won’t rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace. 15So what? Should we sin, because we are not under the Law but under grace? Never! 16don’t you know that who you offer yourselves to as slaves to obey, you are slaves to who you obey, either sin which results in death or to obedience which results in righteousness? 17And gratitude belongs to God, because you were salves of sin, and you obeyed from the heart the example of teaching you gave yourselves to, 18and being freed from sin, you are enslaved to righteousness! 19I’m talking humanly because of your weakness. You see, just as you offered your body parts as slaves to impurity and lawlessness resulting in lawlessness, in that way now offer your body parts as slaves for righteousness resulting in sanctification. 20you see, when you were slaves it was to sin, [and when] you were free it was for righteousness. 21So what fruit did you have at that time? things you’re ashamed of now, because the end of those things was death! 22but now because you’re freed from sin, and are enslaved to God, you have your fruit resulting in sanctification, and the end of them is eternal life. 23You see, the payment of sin is death, and the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!

1.      Outline
a.       Intro:
                                                              i.      Today we are starting a series on the essential doctrines that we believe from the Bible as Christians and how those truths impact and matter in our daily lives. However, before we talk about the different theological points and how they shape our lives for the better and change the way we live, we need to think about why theology matters at all. And what we will see today is that theology matters, because it shapes not just this life now, but also the life to come. Getting good theology will is great because it benefits you now and forever!
                                                            ii.      Everyone of us of course has theology, because theology is just another way of saying, what you believe about God and the world. You already believe something about God and world, the question is just whether God agrees with you. Theology is just what you believe is really true about God, about people, about the world, about the church, about the future. You believe something about those things. The question is just whether you are believing the truth or a clever lie that you have either duped yourself into believing or been duped into believing by the devil or by those working for him.
                                                          iii.      However, while I will be presenting the two alternatives (good and bad theology), it is not having good theology that saves. In fact, in some sense the devil and the rest of the demons have good theology—in some sense they know the truth—but this does not impact their lives for the better, if anything it is their knowledge of the truth that they rebel against. While good theology is required for salvation and thriving, fruitful relationship with God, it does not save. Knowledge can never save. Merely knowing about what is true or right does not save, so don’t listen to this sermon and go home thinking, “I’ve got to save myself by perfecting my theology!” because that is not how it works. instead, the point today is to see that it is important to have good theology. The point is for us to go home knowing that theology matters, and because it matters feeling motivated to pursue knowing and growing more mature in our theology.
b.      Good Theology is matter of life and death, because Good Theology enables you to be victorious over Satan, a tool in God’s Hand, while bad theology only results in you being an enslaved pawn of Satan, a disposable means to an end
                                                              i.      Victory
1.      Matt. 4.1-11
a.       Jesus knew the truth. He had good theology. Perfect theology in fact, which is why even when Satan uses a bible verse to try to temp Jesus, Jesus stands strong. He knows the truth of the Word, but not just a bunch of random passages but how those passages fit together into a coherent theology. It is only because Jesus understands the true theology of the Bible as a whole that He can clearly refute Satan’s twisted interpretation.
b.      It is such a matter of life and death, that even Jesus used a coherent systemized understanding of the Word of God to refute satan, because if there was not a system in which the different passages are interpreted and guided towards a proper application, it would just be a duel between passages. (you could suggest that was merely the understanding of the context of the passage’s true intent, but Jesus doesn’t respond that way. He responds to Satan with a counter passage that is theologically more controlling than the obscure verse and evil application Satan was offering)
2.      John 8.30-59
a.       It is having an accurate theology of Christ that is being argued about in this passage. The discussion is about who is under the control and influence of Satan. The Pharisees and the Jews contend it is Jesus, while Jesus contends that it is they who are under Satan’s influence. Jesus says in v.32: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free!” Free from slavery both to sin and probably implicitly to Satan.
3.      Ephesians 6.10-20
a.       While it is true that the majority of the passage here involves things that Christ gives us on the cross, the overarching assumption is that the things mentioned as the armor of God must not just be true of us in the Spiritual but embraced by us in our own lives and struggles against Satan, which assumes that we have to believe and then live the truths that God has revealed, while they will be true whether we believe and live by them or not, it is when the doctrine of Union with Christ is true understood and lived out that the armor functions as intended.
                                                            ii.      Pawn
1.      Gen. 3.1-7
a.       We often think that bad theology is our own fault, which is certainly true on one level, but it is also the case that bad theology often comes from the influence of Satan, and Satan manipulates people to serve his own aims, even though they often think they are serving themselves.
                                                                                                                                      i.      Eve is there talking with Satan, and she thinks that what this snake is telling her is trust worthy, and that doing what he is suggesting will actually serve her own desires to get something she thinks she wants. And yet, when she succumbs to the devil’s temptation, none of what she thought she wanted was worth having and her own purposes were undone, the only one who got what he/she wanted out of the interaction was Satan. He played her like a chump. And it did it by undermining her good and true theology with twisted and warped theology. She knew God was good and truthful and in charge, but Satan gets Even to leave that good theology behind for a vision of the world in which God is evil, untrustworthy, and not the king of the universe—instead, Eve is the ruler of her life, she becomes the one she trusts, as well as the serpent. She trust a snake to be more good than God, even though all her experiences with God would suggest that God is trustworthy, God, and Sovereign.
2.      Matt. 4.1-11
3.      John 8.30-59
a.       Jesus’ main argument is that they are doing the devil’s bidding, but they contend that they are not. The funny thing about how the devil uses bad theology is that he tends to make us think that we are serving our own interests and are totally independent from his influence, but often nothing is further from the case.
4.      Matt. 16.21-23
a.       Peter is a good example. He tries to correct Jesus’ good theology with his own bad theology. He thinks that he is serving his own purposes, convincing Jesus, Peter’s favorite person, not to go to the cross, but Jesus says, “Get behind me satan!” This indicates that even though Peter was the one talking, the influence of Satan was not far off.
                                                          iii.      Thus, theology matters because unless you want to be living in fake reality being used by satan, you need good theology to overcome Him.
c.       Good Theology is matter of life and death, because Good Theology is required for salvation, freedom from the curse of God, while bad theology puts you under the curse of God
                                                              i.      Bad Theology puts you under the curse of God
1.      Genesis 3.14-19
a.       Their bad theology led to bad actions, and God cursed them for acting on their bad theology
                                                                                                                                      i.      He cursed the serpent for knowing the truth and tricking them
                                                                                                                                    ii.      He cursed the woman for her pleasure outside of God, because she compromised her theology
                                                                                                                                  iii.      He cursed the man for rejecting the command of God, because he disregarded his theology
2.      Rom. 1.18-32
a.       The people reject God, they reject the truth about God and the appropriate response to God being God.
b.      So God curses them
3.      Gal. 1-2
a.       Paul’s whole argument in the first few verses is basically that people who corrupt the Gospel are cursed by God, they are going straight to Hell, and part of that is because their bad theology keeps them from knowing God and truly having a real relationship with God through faith based on His grace.
b.      Paul argues that their theology matters and that it needs to make sense, trying to get saved in the wrong way will not get anyone saved, just destroyed.
                                                            ii.      Freedom from the Curse of God, Salvation
1.      While good theology doesn’t save it is a requirement for salvation.
a.       Cf. Matt. 28—the Pharisees and the guards both know that Jesus rose from the dead, but that doesn’t make them worship Him, it makes them scared, it makes them lie and deceive, because knowingly or unknowingly their sin and the devil was using them. It is a great example of knowing the truth but still not trusting in Christ.
2.      John 4
a.       Jesus it is very clear is offering the woman eternal life, but it is not appropriated until she knows that Jesus is the Messiah and trusts Him. The reason is that we get connected to God through faith, and faith requires knowledge to operate, but knowledge doesn’t force faith to happen.
3.      Gal. 1-2
a.       The problem here is that people have tried to change the good news from salvation in Christ alone through faith alone because of God’s grace alone to salvation in Christ, sort of alone, through faith and ritual, and hence because of human effort.
4.      Rom. 10.9-13
a.       You have to believe the right things to be saved, but believing is not merely knowing. Believing involves dependence on God, where as just knowing doesn’t mean you depend on God
b.      Cf. James 2.18-19, where merely knowledge doesn’t have to change things, but faith does
d.      Good Theology is matter of life and death, because Good Theology enables you to have full and fruitful life, while bad theology results in a wasted and often self-destructive life
                                                              i.      Full and fruitful life
1.      Rom. 6
a.       The whole argument of Rom. 6 is that good theology should and does impact your spiritual life, if you really believe and embrace the riches of the Gospel, you will leave sin behind and live for God
2.      Gal. 2
3.      1 and 2 Thess.
a.       Paul corrects theological issues so that they can live productive Godly lives, but their bad theology about the coming of Christ kept them from the full and fruitful life they should have had.
4.      Eph. 1-5
                                                            ii.      Wasted and self-destructive life
1.      Rom. 1.18-32
2.      Gen. 3.1-19
3.      Eph. 5.18
4.      Philp. 3
e.       Good Theology is matter of life and death, because Good Theology blesses the people around you, while bad theology often results in harm to others
                                                              i.      Cf. Acts
                                                            ii.      2 Peter and Jude
                                                          iii.      Rev. 1-2
f.       Summarized: Good Theology Affects Your Life Now and Good Theology Affects Your Life Forever
2.      Discussion Questions
a.       How interested are you in theology? Scale of 1-10. Why is that?
b.      Have you ever seen difference bad or good theology can make in someone’s life? If you can, please describe the situation.
c.       Is there any area of theology that you are interested in learn about? What is it?
d.      How does what you believe about God, the world, people, the future, etc. affect your life? It does affect it, so think about how it does so.
e.       Give three reasons why theology should matter to us individually and as a community. it’s ok if you have to think about it.

f.       Pick one way to pursue going deeper into theology this week. 

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