Sozo Short Bible Studies – Category #5 – Standing & Outreach
The Doctrine of Christ
This Short Study will look at the principles (basic teachings) of the Doctrine of Christ, and how these principles still relate to us today.
Doctrine of Christ
By Pastor G. Evan Newmyer
Doctrine and Theology: The word Doctrine means “Teaching,” or “what one teaches.” The word Theology is a compound word taken from the Greek language, with the Greek word “Theo” meaning God and “Logy” meaning Study.
Thus “Theology” is our continual and expanding Study of God; however, since study is continual it means studies are yet in the developing stage….but not Doctrinal in structure. Our “developing studies of God” are not our “Doctrine,” yet they are building from the Doctrine of Christ.
Mature Studies…and the full corn in the ear: Mature studies are firm; and although one may add to them, they are nonetheless basically sound within the Doctrinal structure and they become doctrinal studies to assist others in their studies.
Theology is like the growing seed, while “a premise” is yet a seed; when it’s still a thought, then comes the root, then the sprout, then the blade, then the full ear, and finally the full corn in the ear.
If we have a sound study discipline, we can discern between a study in its building stage and one which is tested and ready to be taught. Paul said he would not have a Novice to teach; the word Novice in the Greek means “a Sprout.” A Sprout is based on the seed; it has a root, but it is not a blade. Therefore, it has yet to conquer the pride issue. Theology is somewhat like a seed to the Novice. As the Novice sees the anointing work, they tend to think it’s based on them, their studies, discipleship, or something involving them alone; thus they become prey for the devil.
A Novice often teaches an undeveloped thought, leaving far too many gaps for the study to be considered a sound teaching. The gaps are left open to private conclusions, or simply are too vague to be applicable. Paul’s warning about the Novice teacher isn’t so much toward those being taught, but about the Novice. A prime example is Peter; and we’re not picking on Peter, but it’s obvious his adventures before Pentecost are given to us as lessons. Peter heard from the Father, but at the time, he had no idea it was the Father. It took Jesus to tell him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17 – KJV) Until Jesus told Peter that it was revelation, Peter had no idea. A few verses later Jesus tells of events yet to come, but Peter wants God to change the events; and he is rebuked by Jesus. Instead of hearing “blessed are you,” Peter hears, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:23 – KJV).
Peter simply couldn’t tell the source of his information; and like a Novice he felt, “if it sounds good, it must be God.” Peter had some information, but he didn’t have it all, nor did he understand the source of information.
The Bible is the rule book, but we can find more than one doctrine in the Bible. We can find for instance, the “doctrine of Moses,” “the doctrine of Balaam,” and the “Doctrine of Christ.” One could mix elements of the “Doctrine of Christ” with the “Doctrine of Moses,” then end teaching others by the “Doctrine of Balaam.” When the Novice thinks that whatever “is happening” by their might, ability, or wisdom, they will be filled with pride as they begin to assume that they are the “special of the special,” or perhaps… the “only prophet,” or the “only apostle,” or the “apostle over a state, country, or nation.” A novice teaching takes on a heresy of its own; it builds itself from a thought to a doctrine without ample Scriptural evidence.
What begins as a tradition out of the last generation can become a doctrine in the next; thus we find doctrines of men with no firm, solid, plain Bible verse to support them. There are many and we can usually think of some; it’s like “oh the doctrine those people hold, I know exactly what you mean.” But we need to examine our own “doctrine” to determine if we’ve also picked up some “strange fire” along the way.
Our Study Foundation: If we have a solid foundation, we then build on the foundation indicating that we can be somewhat confident that no teaching will be taught before its time. Yet, it still takes a constant checking against one written element we do have, which is “The Doctrine of Christ.” We have to examine what we’re doing alongside of what Jesus taught and what He did; and consider that if Jesus didn’t teach something or practice something, then why are we? If we are binding what Jesus “loosed,” what does that make us? If we are “loosing,” what Jesus has bound, what does it make us? Studies and precepts must pass the test of sound study discipline, as sound study discipline must be formed around the Doctrine of Christ.
Getting to know the Doctrine of Christ: So, don’t you think it would be nice to know about the Doctrine? Yes! Why? Because; how do the doctrines of men get a foothold? Does it happen as a result of failure to know the Doctrine of Christ? Hummmmm.
Let’s say that someone uses a phrase which is not Bible-based; but it sounds right, it smells right, it even seems wise. But when/if it’s not secure in the Bible, it can become a tradition of men. Then this tradition can begin to travel about unchallenged until it’s gradually accepted as doctrine. Even worse, traditions of men made into doctrines, always take away from a Commandment, which is very dangerous indeed.
We must study and examine the Doctrine of Christ, yet the meaning of the title “Christ” varies, depending on whether we’re talking about Jesus the Christ or the Body of Christ which Jesus gave us when He said, “This is My Body.” Jesus gave us the “Bread” and the “Cup” which are two items, not one. The Bread is the Body, while the Cup held the Blood of Jesus; and then He said that the Blood is the New Testament.
The Body, the Rock & the Church upon the Rock: The Body of Christ was already being established before the Cross as “The Rock”; but “The Church” didn’t come into existence until the Day of Pentecost some fifty days after the Cross. This is explained in Matthew 16 when Jesus asked His disciples “But Whom say you that I am?” (Matt 16:15). Of course we know Peter answered and then found that his knowledge about that matter came from the Father.
It didn’t come from the studies of man or from the intellect of man, nor from the Jewish teachings (Matt 16:17 – KJV): “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Jesus then said to Peter, “Upon this Rock” showing a “present-tense” condition; but He also said, “I will build My Church” showing a future-tense action. He didn’t say, “Upon the Rock, I have built My Church,” nor did He say, “This Rock is the Church,” nor did He say, “Upon this Rock, I am building My Church,” nor did He say, “Thou Peter are the Rock upon which I will build My Church.” The division was clear; Peter is a piece of the Rock, while the Rock itself is Christ made up from many Rocks. Paul called the Rock, “Christ,” referring to it as the Body of Christ. The timing was the same for the Gift of the Spirit; the Spirit was given after Jesus was glorified by the Resurrection.
In Matthew, Jesus called Peter, “Simon Barjona (meaning, Simon Son of Jona)” which is strange since it was the earthly name which Peter carried before he met Jesus. The revelation said, “Jesus son of God”; Jesus said, “Simon son of Jona” and for good reason. This same name was used in the last Chapter of John, only there it was after Peter had denied the Lord, a time when Peter felt he was no longer among the apostles.
This division separates “the Rock” from “the Church”; it also shows that no one person could be considered, “the Rock,” nor is one person “the Church.” Thus, Jesus will build the Church from the Rock. This is important since the Doctrine of Christ is directed to those who are of the Rock (as members of the Body), regardless of whether they are: spiritual or not, carnal or spiritual, new born babes, just had the seed planted or able to consume “strong meat” (spiritually mature). These “rudiments” (elements) or “principalities” (areas of operation) of the Doctrine of Christ become stable pillars in our walk; they keep us firm in the calling of our profession.
Jesus then told Peter, “Upon this Rock I will build My Church.” Since Jesus just called Peter “Simon,” we have a clue as to what this “Rock” is. If Jesus would have said “Blessed are you Peter, for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee,” the entire concept of “Following Jesus” would have been out the window. Now wait, didn’t Jesus say in the next verse, “Thou art Peter”? (Matt 16:18). Yes, it’s the clue and division we need in order to keep us from entering another system where we end putting a man between us and God. It would be so easy to twist these verses to form another “head” of the Body by placing a man between us and God. The Law of Moses was based on that very premise; and no one under the Law of Moses is a “son of God” since they end up being a “son of Moses”.
Simon to Peter: Who was Peter before Jesus touched him? He was Simon; and it was Jesus who said, “You are Peter.” Peter never made Jesus the Christ; in fact as Simon, he wasn’t able to be Peter. It took Jesus. Jesus called Simon to the Rock, then discipled him as a “piece of the Rock.” It’s clear that Peter didn’t change his name from Simon to Peter; Jesus did. Yet Jesus just referred to him as both Simon and Peter. Neither did Peter call himself into the ministry; but Jesus did. Peter never developed the revelation of Jesus being the Christ; he was given the knowledge by the Father. Peter would never be able to build the Church, yet he was nonetheless a part of the Rock. Or was he the Rock itself? The name Peter doesn’t mean “the rock”; it means “a little rock” or a “piece of the rock.” Some would translate the name Peter as “Rocky.”
There were other disciples there as well. Recalling how they had a fit when James and John wanted to be on the left and right of Jesus, imagine what they would have done if they thought Jesus was saying He was going to build the Church from Peter? No, Jesus wasn’t referring to Peter as the “entire Rock,” only a piece of it. This becomes part of the Doctrine of Christ: the Rock is the Body and from the Body, Jesus will build His Church.
Jesus isn’t going to give a “seat” to Peter or the position of being “the Rock”; simply, Jesus took Simon Barjona and would disciple him as Peter, but as “a piece of the Rock.” Then when the Spirit was given, this same Peter would be able to submit and allow Jesus “to build him into the Church.” For some reason we use the word “Church” as some generic term including both the Rock and Church; but Jesus separated them for a purpose. By the way, this does connect to the “Doctrine of Christ,” since this is some of the teaching Jesus gave us.
Before The Church (Pentecost): The “Church” at the time was still future tense, showing that none of these disciples were “Born Again”; and none of them had “the Spirit.” Therefore, none of them were “spiritual in nature”; yet they preached, cast out devils, baptized others in water, and healed the sick. What Authority did they have? Jesus sent them based on Mercy; their sins were forgiven “on earth” and they had authority on earth to deal with the things related to earth. The time to “expand” into Greater Works would not come until Pentecost, when “the Power from on high” joined the declared Authority which Jesus gave His Body.
This same Peter who had the revelation of Jesus as being the Christ, will be the same one in a few verses to hear Jesus say to him in Matthew 16:23, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” From “blessed are you Simon Barjona” to “You are Satan”? Wow, what happened? Peter, like the other disciples was “natural,” (without the Spirit as of that point) and unable to discern the source of the information. If Jesus had not told Peter that the revelation had come from the Father, Peter would not have known this. To Peter, it represented “information,” nothing more, nothing less; thus he didn’t know if the source of this information was from God, or himself. He used his natural reasoning; so… if it sounded okay to him, why not go ahead and say it. However, we also can see that this reasoning got him into trouble. We know if the source is God, then we’re blessed; so what would we be if the source was Satan? Cursed? Yes; Peter went from Blessed to Cursed in a heartbeat, all because he had no idea of the source of his information. The Father identified the Christ; but Satan wanted to control Christ. Both recognized Jesus as the Christ, but both had very different intents for doing so.
Since “Peter” was the name that Jesus gave him, we also see how Jesus called Peter to be a part of the Rock; but the context shows that Jesus “will build His Church on the Rock.” The Rock is not the Church and the Church is not the Rock; rather, one is built on the other. These Jewish disciples knew that “Jerusalem of the earth” was built by men “on the Rock known as Zion”; of course the Rock was a creation of God (being earth). Here, Jesus reversed the order. The Rock is still a “type of Zion” and the Church is “New Jerusalem”; but rather than man building New Jerusalem (Church), Jesus will build The Church; and rather than God creating the Rock, the Body is given the task of building the Rock, which Rock is Christ the Body: (I Cor 10:17): “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” & (10:4): “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
Jude confirms this by saying in (Jude1: 22-23): “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” The word “save” is the Greek word “Sozo,” not the Greek word “Soteria”; thus this use of the word is not with regard to Salvation, but nonetheless it is “a saving from the world into the Rock”. Jude doesn’t limit the fish either, good or bad; we are to pull them in; however, once someone enters or becomes a piece of the Rock, then Jesus will build them into the Church…. or not.
The New: What was the doctrine of Moses? It was The Law of Moses; yet Joshua was the minister to Moses and God told Joshua to mediate on the Law” while we’re told to “walk in the Spirit.” This is not to say that we’re not supposed to “mediate,” but we can mediate all day long and still, never walk in the Spirit.
The New is better than the Old, far better; and since its “New,” it means “it was never before” (did not exist before) which is not an extension of the Old, rather it’s New. How about the term “shadow”? A shadow is not the item itself; rather it’s the result of the Light behind the subject. Thus the Shadow is not the Light or the Image, but something showing that there is a Light on the other side of the Image. Within “the Shadow” was the Law of Moses, yet the purpose of all things is Jesus (the Image and Light), not the Law of Moses. Sometimes we tend to get it confused as we run off with the wrong doctrines. We have said all this to show that there are some things found in the Old Testament that are similar along with some that are opposites, between the Old and New. The Old has a circumcision and so does the New, but they are different by type and definition (circumcision of the flesh vs. circumcision of the heart).
The Jew, The Hebrew & Israel: The Book of Hebrews was not written to the Hebrews; it was written about them. Why not call it the “Book of the Jews”? Or why not call it the “Book of Israel”? A Jew is one “who has a standing to enter some covenant with God”; while “Israel” is a nation or land, yet they are different. No where do we find the term, “true Israel”; but we do find the term “true Jew.” A Jew is “a male who holds the token for the Abrahamic Covenant,” the token being the circumcision of the flesh, or in the case of a female, whose father held the token for the Abrahamic Covenant.
A Hebrew is different; a Hebrew is “a sojourner” or “someone who is between lands, yet has the Promise of a land.” Israel is “the nation to whom the land belongs”; thus we are Christian, “a people to whom the Kingdom of God belongs.”
The nation Israel is made up from tribes; it’s not one person. The Rock is made up from people who form bodies which we call “churches”; and these churches are “in the Rock,” but it doesn’t mean that they “are The Church.” Therefore, there is only “One Church on the Rock,” but there are “many churches in the Rock.”
This explains why Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” But in the Book of Revelation we find the Balaams and Jezebels have taken up residence in some churches, while others were holding the “doctrine of the Nicolatanes” or the “doctrine of Balaam” (Rev 2:15): “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” Another church thought it was rich and in need of nothing, but really it was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; thus it was deceived in the following of false doctrine. We can also be deceived; there are the “doctrines of men” and there are the “doctrines of devils.” The “doctrines of devils” do not teach about devils; it’s what devils teach which is “unbelief.” Thus anyone who teaches us “unbelief” is by definition, a devil. The “doctrines of men” are “presumptuous concepts without merit or solid Bible evidence.”
Gates of Hell: Jesus said the gates of hell shall not prevail against “it”; yet He mentioned two elements (Rock and Church). “Gates” in any sense do not operate from an “offensive” position since they are “defensive,” and they are formed to “keep things out” or “keep things in” or “form a hindrance.” For instance, when a person is walking along a path and they run into a gate, it causes them to take another direction. The gates of hell cause us to take another direction than the one we should be taking.
Jesus never promised us that the gates would not invade the Rock; but “invasion” and “prevailing” are different. The Rock is “like unto the kingdom of heaven”; and it’s a place. But the Church is like the Kingdom of God; and it’s a personage. The place (The Rock) has all sorts of people in it; and it’s like the courtyard of the Tabernacle and people make entry based on the Sacrifice, not the person. The Kingdom of God is found in the Tent area; first is the “holy place,” which is the place of service and then we see the “holy of holies” which is the place where we find God and His Mercy seat. We must “seek the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness,” but seeking the Kingdom of God by self-righteousness is using a wile of the devil in some attempt to complete a Godly act; and the result is failure.
We know that there is one Rock, one Church, and one Doctrine of Christ. However, we also know there are doctrines many; we just found there are at least two (doctrines) which invaded bodies of believers: the doctrine of Balaam, and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. The name “Nicolaitanes” means “victory over the people” whereas the name “Nicodemus” means “victory for the people.” It’s fitting for Jesus to teach Nicodemus about being Born Again, yet hate the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. The point being, we find two ungodly doctrines in “churches” as well as the self-appointed (Jezebel), with the mistaken concept of riches as holiness.
With all these other doctrines, we can see how important it is to know the Doctrine of Christ; but what caused these other doctrines to come into being? Was it the devil that caused these doctrines or the nature of man? The Bible shows us that Balaam was a descendent of Abraham through Keturah (Gen 25:1-6 & Deut 23:4). Balaam even had the “Spirit of the Lord” descend upon him; he admitted how he could not prophesy against the people of God, because the Lord would not allow it (Numb 23:1 & 24:2). Up to that point we find that Balaam fit the role of a prophet; thus the man never gave a “false prophecy.” We still use what he said from his office of prophet; God is not a man that He should lie; and what God has blessed, no one can curse. Those are foundational to our faith, yet they were said through Balaam. Balaam could not cast a curse on the children, so he “taught” Balak how to cast a stumbling stone of idol worship before the children; thus this is how the children cursed themselves. He did it for one reason and one reason only, to promote himself in the eyes of Balak (Rev 2:14). Balaam’s problem originated from a lust he refused to deal with; and everyman is still led away by his own lust. Balaam presumed that having the “office” (of prophet) was the means for him to gain by; thus the source of his lust was greed or a love for money.
Love for money: A love for money includes the deceitfulness of riches or the thought that money can cure our ills. A love for money holds other thoughts as well, making money a power or causing one to think that money is the reason for the calling. Also, it can cause one to “sell the dove,” to fill the coffers of the treasury. We find it was Balaam’s teaching when we read that Balaam “taught” Balak how to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel (Rev 2:14). The word “Taught” in Revelation 2:14 is the Greek Diasko meaning “Instruction” or teaching; and it’s the root word for the Greek word used for Doctrine (Greek Didache). Balaam was going to find some way to get around the will of the Lord, in order to impress Balak in the process. His teaching induced Balak to send the “daughters of Moab” to the men of Israel to seduce them and then trick them into idol worship. The concept was simple; no one can curse what God has blessed, but one can trick the blessed of God to curse themselves. The result was that “Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor; but the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel” (Numb 25:3). Why not against Balaam? The choice to serve idols was still in the hands of the children of Israel, whether Balaam taught Balak or not. Twenty four thousand died as a result of a plague produced by the folly, showing that they did curse themselves by removing themselves from the doctrine of Moses into the doctrine of Balaam (Numb 25:9). The Book of Revelation shows the church of Pergamos listened to the doctrine of Balaam, to the point of some holding it. They also had those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing Jesus hates, so what is it? We found the name Nicolaitanes means “victory over the people”; thus leaders were being taught how to control the congregation, rather than edify them. Both of those doctrines were and are opposed to the Doctrine of Christ.
Gaining the Doctrine of Christ: There are fundamental steps we must take before we gain the Doctrine of Christ. First we must understand, that although the Old Covenant came from God, it was not sent to a people who were Spirit-filled. It was good for those it was sent to; but the “New” is better; it’s designed for those it’s sent to. Hebrews chapter six doesn’t give us all of the Doctrine of Christ, but it does give us the principles, or foundational elements.
Elements of the Doctrine of Christ: Hebrews 6:1-2 lists six items as follows:
- Repentance from dead works.
- Faith toward God
- The doctrine (sing) of baptisms (plural)
- Laying on of hands
- Resurrection of the dead
- Eternal judgment.
We see after reading this list that there are still some things we don’t see that are also important. For instance, if being Born Again is a must, why don’t we see it in Hebrew 6? Where is the Spirit in all this? Where is Salvation? Where is Grace? Paul said we must believe in our hearts Jesus is raised from the dead; so where is that? These matters mentioned in Hebrews 6 are not all of the Doctrine of Christ; they are the rudiments, the very basic elements every person who enters the Body should know. These six elements, if applied would stop all cult systems and they would guide us from false doctrines since they give us the basic first step of our walk on the path of Righteousness.
Armor of God: How about the Armor of God? Yes, it relates as well. The pieces to the Armor of God are listed in Ephesians 6:13-17 as follows:
- Girt about with Truth.
- Breastplate of righteousness.
- Feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace.
- Shield of faith.
- Helmet of Salvation.
- Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word (Rhema) of God.
There are some connections, yet a few don’t even sound like they come close. For instance there is no “Judgment” mentioned in the verses about Armor, but you do see it in the Doctrine of Christ. Repentance is found in both, but in the Doctrine of Christ we see “ repentance from dead works.” In the verses about the Armor we see “The Preparation,” but not repentance itself. The Armor is the New Man; and we put on the New Man. We also put on the Armor; yet the Armor belongs to God and it can only fit an element of God, such as the New Man. If there is eternal Judgment, then there must be Eternal Salvation; and we know that there is (Heb 5:9). Therefore, the knowledge of eternal Judgment also means that we know there is eternal Salvation.
Dead Works: So, what are dead works? Any work based in self-righteousness is dead. The Blood of Jesus will purge us from dead works (Heb 9:14). The Law of Moses was based on self-righteousness; whereas the Law of the Spirit is based on the Righteousness of God. Works of the flesh to remain in the Law really ended in the very death which the people attempted to avoid; but if we labor to enter the “Rest of God,” we know that the “works” are done which becomes a matter of “ceasing from our own works” and enjoying the “works of Him” who sent us (Heb 4:3-10).
Rest of God: So how do we enter the Rest of God? We enter by belief; and belief is based on knowledge.
Faith toward God is the first step in reaching the place of having faith In God. The children in the wilderness failed to mix the “word heard” with faith (Heb 4:2); yet we all know that “faith comes by hearing but the hearing by the Word (Rhema) of God.” “Faith coming,” “faith being received,” and faith being mixed with the Word are different. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it’s impossible to please God without faith. However, the first step of faith is to Believe that “God Is,” but is what? Well, we know that “God is love; and that’s fine. But the verse simply says “God Is.” If we enter a challenging life event with any belief other than “God Is,” we will fall from faith before we have it because our faith is based on the belief of “God Is in the event,” and “God Is for us.” If we know this, then we can look to the hope by our faith of God being a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Faith toward God is not easy, because when a life event seems upside down, we can attempt to use our “measure of faith” against the event or we can put faith in God which is holy; but when we use our measure of faith to please ourselves, it becomes unholy. Faith speaks, God speaks, and there are other things speaking to us as well. For instance, fear speaks, the world speaks, reasoning speaks, and they all do so to get us away from faith and back into the self. One of the biggest battles any Christian faces is “being motivated by the self”; when we were in the world, the self was our motivation and the flesh our means of association to the world. Then we entered the Kingdom and became Born Again; and it all changed. The Spirit is changing or forming our souls into a “spiritual nature.” The Holy Ghost teaches by comparing spiritual to spiritual; and the Holy Ghost is spiritual, the New Man is spiritual. Yet, if our souls are not centered on the spiritual we will not understand the learning process.
The Doctrine of Baptisms: The Doctrine of Christ has doctrines within it, as it is with the doctrine of baptisms. The doctrine of baptisms is one doctrine with more than one baptism. After reading that you might be thinking, “Now wait! Hold it right there and no one move! Doesn’t the Book of Ephesians say that there is only One baptism?” True; but here we find “baptisms,”; and the Book of Hebrews is just as much the Bible as Ephesians; so how do we deal with this? We can’t toss out one verse or form a doctrine on the other. We have to know how they interrelate; and then we find truth.
One Body of Christ on Earth: In Ephesians we find several Greek words for the English word “One”; and one of the Greek words means “one and only one” as in One Lord. But the other means “One made up from parts” as in the phrase “One Body.” We know that there is only One Body of Christ. So, is there only one person in the Body? Some think so; but in truth we know there are many. Take a baseball; it’s one baseball but we don’t say, “hey, toss me the baseball with all its components,” yet we know that the baseball has a core, a wrapping around the core, two pieces put together to make the covering, thread used to put it together, all working together to comprise one baseball.
One Baptism: So it is with the phrase “One Baptism”; we can’t pick one of the baptisms over the other since they are interrelated. Also, in the TR we find the Greek word “Pas” for the word “One,” meaning a location. Therefore, we find that there is only one Body on the earth with the God granted authority to baptize people in water. The very meaning of the phrase, “In the Name of Jesus Only” refers to the many people at the time who were still using John’s baptism which ended when John was cast into prison. John’s baptism held that the people “should believe.”
However, the one (Baptism) which we do calls for the candidate to make a confession of their belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 8:37, 18:24-28 & 19:1-6).
In Acts we find several baptisms all going on among the Gentiles. However, let’s look at two we know about, which are the Baptism we do in water (as the person’s token regarding the Body); then there is the “Baptism with the Holy Ghost” which is done by Jesus (Acts 10:45-48 with 11:16). Water Baptism does not grant us the Spirit; rather the Baptism with the Holy Ghost does.
Authority Granted: Jesus said, “Baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” In this there is only one Name; but it belongs to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God all in all. So, if Jesus said this (and the “Son” is Jesus,) then it stands that the “One Name” is the Authority granted to the Body of Christ.
Laying on of Hands: Next is the laying on of hands, which is another vital aspect of the Doctrine of Christ. Without knowing the elements here, we will not understand other aspects of the “Saving Grace of Christ.”
The laying on of hands is done during ordination; also we see it when presenting someone to the Lord for baptism with the Holy Ghost or as a sign of granting someone the “touch of Mercy.” In Mark there are signs “following the believer,” and among them, “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). The wording “Shall recover” is the Greek word Kalos meaning “Well, good, excellently”; we also find the same word in Mark 7:37 where the people are talking about when Jesus said, “He has done all things well, He makes both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” “Okay, where is shall recover there”. Ahh, it’s the point; the Greek word “Kalos” is the phrase “things well. So, in essence, Jesus laid hands on the people and Jesus “did good,” which is the meaning of “Kalos.” The sick recovering is one thing, but being obedient another. Here we find that if we lay hands on the sick as we present them into the Mercy of God, (even with a symbol of Olive Oil) to represent the sermon on the Mount of Olives…then, we have done well.
There are some interesting things in Mark 16:16-18; and it really begins to connect to the Doctrine of Christ. If we’re to have faith toward God, yet the foundation of faith is belief, we would also presume that one must “believe” before Jesus sends them out to preach, right? Wrong. When we look at Mark 16:16-18, we can see a strong connection to Mark 16:14. In Mark 16:14 Jesus upbraids the disciples with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they “believed not” them which had seen Him after He was risen. There were others who saw Jesus, yet reported it; but why didn’t Jesus just show Himself to the disciples first? This was because of “Belief unto faith.” He told them that in three days He would be raised; and so, they should have expected it. However, their unbelief was holding up the entire process. The Cross and Resurrection wasn’t for Jesus to make a grand show; it was for the people. The apostles were the Rock; and they were trained to believe. All they had to do was wait for three days while holding to their faith; but they were moved by the things of man. They lacked a “God is” thinking by replacing that with a type of “is” thinking, only then it was something like, “Jesus Is dead and all is lost.” They failed to see the human aspect, in that Jesus died on the Cross for all humans; but Jesus was not dead. He lives forever more.
For us it’s an easy aspect of belief, since we have the past to see; but, what about each of us being raised by the same Spirit? Where is the firm belief leading to faith? It is in the New Man, (the very product of the Spirit); thus, we must believe in our heart Jesus was raised from the dead. Not in our mind, although the thought will rest there after it comes from the heart. One can hold an intellectual view of Jesus being raised from the dead, but the proof of whether they believe in their heart is found in their responses when faced with death. These disciples felt death was death; yet they saw Jesus raise Lazarus weeks before the Cross. But in that case, it was Jesus raising another and here it was Jesus raising Himself. Who has heard of such a thing?
The context in Mark shows us that the disciples had prior “information”; but their own reasoning rejected the promise of Jesus being raised unless they saw it. We jump all over Thomas for his statement, “Unless I see, and touch”; but he merely voiced what they all felt. This is evident in Ma,rk 16:14. Jesus doesn’t tell them, “Ahh once you believed not, but now you believe, so go ye”; rather they still didn’t believe, but did it stop Jesus from saying “Go ye”? No; the context for any of us isn’t the belief of those who speak, but of those who “believe” after they hear. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Rhema,” indicating that the ear of the person who hears is centered on the Spirit and Life. For instance, someone can read Scripture and thus the Rhema will be voiced; then, the hearer will hearand the signs will follow those who believe.
Mark 16:14-18 gives us progression for the Believer which is not a discourse on baptism; rather it shows that if one is baptized (identified) to the Body, that their requirement is to “continue to Believe.” Yet if one is not in the Body (Baptized/Identified), they can believe all they want, yet the phrase “shall be saved” does not apply, meaning that if one enters the Body, yet fails to continue to believe, the phrase “shall be saved” does not apply to them. (This is not in reference to whether or not someone is immersed in water, since water is a physical element which has no power to save in and of itself; this has to do with identifying oneself with the Body of Christ by belief & then continuing to believe.) So, all of this is in reference to “the upbraiding”; thus, the disciples repented and the signs followed them. Showing belief is a decision, we are presented the evidence and we make the choice to believe or not.
Continuing to Believe: In Mark 16 the word “Believe” is the Aorist Tense, meaning “one who continues to believe,” which is the same context found in Romans in connection with those who believe in their heart. The “signs follow the ones who continue to believe,” not the ones who preach, or the ones who believe until they get to the parking lot of their church. All the signs are actions; and each has a cause and effect. The question of Authority is at issue here, not Power; it’s still “in My Name.” Thus, to remain in the Name of Jesus we must continue to believe. Casting out devils is something anyone in the Body can do, whether they happen to be “Spirit-filled” or still “carnal.” Of course, the carnal-minded will usually make a show out of it (casting out devils or other signs); but nonetheless the new convert has the authority to cast out devils.
All these matters seem to connect in one way or another, even to “the Resurrection of the dead.” We just saw how the disciples were “upbraided with their unbelief”; but what was the unbelief based in? Was it Jesus preaching the Kingdom? No. Was it Jesus being the Son of God? No. Was it Jesus healing the sick? No. Was it Jesus going about doing good?
No; it was “Jesus being raised from the dead” (Mark 16:14). Romans 10:1-13 connects belief in “Jesus being raised from the dead” with our righteousness. Self-righteous acts will make us ignorant to the Righteousness of God; yet it’s the Righteousness of God giving us the confidence of believing that Jesus is raised from the dead. Where is the Righteousness? It is in the New Man (Eph 4:24). The First Resurrection is the Resurrection of Jesus; but it’s not complete until the same Spirit raises us at what is sometimes referred to as “The Rapture,” which is not a separate Resurrection, but the “Finish of the First.” There are parts: those who are “Dead in Christ,” those who “sleep in Jesus through the night to be raised on the last day, then judged according to their works of Mercy.” Then, there are “the drunken (Wicked) who go into the Night.” The “last resurrection” is based on a “power from without” and it too has parts: There are those who “resurrected unto Life,” then those who are “resurrected unto damnation, or the second death.”
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27-KJV) Therefore, we find that one element of the Doctrine of Christ is having the knowledge of eternal judgment.
Paul understood that “the Resurrection from the dead” included two Resurrections; in his letter to the Philippians he uses two different Greek words for the word Resurrection, one means “to be stood up from a power within, “and the other means “to be stood up from a power without.” Paul wanted to know Jesus and the Power of the Resurrection; but why not the Power of the Cross? This is because the resurrection is the purpose for the Cross and no one is going to be resurrected unless a death takes place. In our case we “impute the flesh dead on the Cross of Jesus” which is also called “picking up our cross.” Then we are given the Holy Spirit of Promise, as the same Spirit declaring Jesus as the Son of God (Rom 1:4).
Lazarus was not “resurrected”; he was “resuscitated to the same flesh and natural life.” Thus, Jesus is the “first born from the dead” and the very first “Resurrected,” which means His Resurrection is called the “First Resurrection,” one “from a power within” Paul then added his desire to attain the Resurrection (power from within); however, if for some reason he wouldn’t make the First, he knew he would make the resurrection unto life (power from without). Some of us would have rebuked him for a lack of faith by wondering, “What’s wrong man? Where’s his faith? Speak it, you will make the Rapture”. Paul’s faith, (like his Trust), were in God; he knew he would be with the Lord in the end.
In the Book of Revelation we find that those who are “Partakers of the First Resurrection” are raised before the 1,000 years begins, as they reign with Christ (Rev 20:6 – KJV): “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Paul also taught the Thessalonians about the “catching away”, or as it reads in the Latin “Rapture,” which refers to when “those of us who remain” are caught up to meet the “dead in Christ in the clouds,” What clouds would those be? The metaphor “Clouds” refers to “Witnesses,” and Jesus was received by the Witnesses comprised of the “captives taken captive,” which make up one cloud. Then, Stephen and James began the second cloud; thus, Jesus comes back with Clouds, but left with a Cloud.
When the other saints passed from this earth (who were in “Dead in Christ”)…well, they joined to make another “Cloud” giving us “Clouds.”
Three Trumps: Then we read about some type of “Trump”; but there are three trumps and there are two joined as the first and last. Then there is the “Great Trump”; so, the last of the two is not the last of the three. The first trump sounded when Jesus was raised from the dead; and the last of the two will sound at the Rapture. But the “Great Trump” will sound at the Judgment. The Judgment? Ahh, we are back to the Doctrine of Christ. If there is “eternal Judgment,” then there must be “eternal Salvation,” because we can’t have one without the other. Judgment relates to the Resurrection from the dead, but don’t forget the time of “The Day” (when the Spirit lives within the Born Again) ends with the Rapture; and we are “children of the Day.” We are not “children of the Night” or children of darkness (I Thess 5:5 – KJV): “You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”
The Doctrine of Christ has some opposites. For instance in Second Peter we find that there are those who have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who have also entangled themselves back into the world (perdition), like a dog returning to its vomit or a pig to the wallowing; in the end, they loved the feelings they obtained from the things of the world more than the love of serving God (II Pet 2:19-22 – KJV): “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
The Doctrine of Christ will enlighten us to several things, when we see the opposites; and we can see the positives as well. Hebrews 6:4-6 (KJV) shows what happens when one “falls away”: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost.”
Yet, one can’t “fall away” unless they have reached a place where falling is possible. It would be impossible for Adam to fall, if he were not in a place where falling was possible. Adam didn’t fall after the fall, he fell causing the fall.
The Doctrine of Christ will “Enlighten us.” It will grant us a “Taste of the Gift from heaven (which is Grace,”) that we can be Partakers of the Holy Ghost to taste the good Word (Rhema) of God. This gives us “Faith toward God,” as we know of the power of Judgment in the age of the Night to come, thus giving us the more than a taste of the Power and Authority granted to those of the Day. Not to get confused, each element in Hebrews 6:4-6 shows what the person had and yet rejected; so if they rejected it, surely they had it to hold onto as well.
Where else in Hebrews does it relate to this? Oh yes, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Heb 10:38-39). The reference to “any man” would be to you or I.
Those who “fall away” have “tasted”; which means they haven’t consumed and they have no root in themselves, not because the seed wasn’t planted, rather because they lacked patience and discipline. They heard, but retained the spirit of the world, producing the “he of the world” in them, some of whom still desire to appear “morally correct” or “Christian” in the eye of man.
The Foundation: The basics of the Doctrine of Christ give us a foundation and also some insight to how great it is to be alive in this time, which includes the Greatness of the Grace of God as well as what it means to have “faith toward God.” It takes the “Spirit of Christ” to be a “Partaker of the First Resurrection,” as we hold a firm belief of “God Is.”
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 – KJV)
The carnal soul can’t accomplish this and the wild mind can’t; but the New Man can. The world may be going to hell in a hand basket; but we’re headed to heaven in the hand of Jesus. The time is short, let us reach out to the world, and see if we can fill the Hand of the Lord. Selah.
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King James Version ( KJV): For greater understanding of these commentaries, please use the Authorized Version of the King James Bible for confirming the Scripture passages mentioned. Please see the article, “Why KJV” by Ann M. Wolf for information regarding why we use KJV. Thank you for visiting our Sozo Short Bible Studies area.