1. Worldview:
    1. Set of beliefs about reality, faith, self, etc.
    2. Personal Philosophy
    3. How did you come to know truth, meaning, behavior, reality, eternity?
      1. Intentional or unintentional?
      2. Honestly, what influenced it? Do you know?
      3. Data from Barna Research:
        1. 25% of American adults claim their worldview is based on biblical principles.
        2. Less than 10% can explain how they arrived at that worldview.
    4. Challenge: For us to intentionally pursue a Christian worldview and ethic informed by the Bible.

  2. Back to the Bible:
    1. Restoration Heritage:
      1. Campbell:
        1. The Ancient Gospel (Theology)
        2. The Ancient Order (Church)
        3. The Bible is a book of facts (and the pertinent section is Acts 2 and on)
      2. This part of our heritage is good, but let us go deeper ...
    2. Biblical Restorations:
      1. Josiah:
        1. Great is the Lord's anger that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book. -- 2 Chronicles 34:21
      2. Ezra and Nehemiah:
        1. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. – Nehemiah 8:8
      3. Divine “ways” were re-established ...
      4. The Word of God is rediscovered.
      5. The People of God are changed as a result.
    3. Restoration Among Us:
      1. Our work of restoration is not finished.
        1. Restoration is a process, not an event
          • It is not just a one-time event in our lives or in history.
        2. Scripture is not simply “entry-level truth.”
          • Too often we seem to think we have the basics from the Bible and now we search through other materials (secular and religious) for that which will take us to the next level of maturity.
      2. These are stale views of Scripture, the Word of God is life-changing.
      3. Consider this:
        1. “The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than every double edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4 (Not just a weapon, but a scalpel)
        2. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God might be well equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 (Emphasize training in righteousness)
      4. The motivation and rationale for moral behavior is rooted in foundational beliefs:
        1. Christian worldview is the basis of a Christian lifestyle
          • Paul always established the theological principles before concluding the pragmatic.
        2. We must also engage core biblical teaching.
      5. Before we can change the world around us, we must be changed.
        1. Is our worldview different?
        2. Are our ethics based on principles other than the culture?
        3. If not, then we have nothing to offer the world.

  3. Opening the Bible:
    1. Instead of just shaking out a few scattered nuggets of wisdom from the Bible ...
    2. Suggestion:
      1. Be aware of history and literary types (genres)
      2. Beware of forcing a modern issue or agenda back into the original message.
      3. Begin with the Foundational Concepts:
        1. Universal Truths
        2. Not cultural, regional, or temporal matters
      4. Foundational Elements:
        1. God is first and most important.
        2. Christ is second, but helps us understand God.
        3. Likewise with Spirit.
        4. Sin has to do with humanity’s situation with God and related to next idea ...
        5. Salvation, a God-initiated alternative to the other.
        6. Church, the result of salvation and dependent upon God, Christ, Spirit.
        7. End Time, speaks for itself.
          • These are not dependent upon greater concept, save that which is higher on the list.
      5. Missing a concept? Look again:
        1. What about Baptism?
          • Pledge of a good conscience before God – 1 Peter 3
          • Baptized into Christ (see Romans 6, Galatians 3)
          • Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)
          • Dead to sin – (Romans 6)
          • The response of those who would be saved (Acts 2)
          • Baptized walk in newness of life (Romans 6)
          • Hope of the resurrection (Romans 6)
        2. Of course this assumes we have done some work in this other areas.
        3. Let’s major in majors, and minor in minors.

  4. “Doing Theology”:
    1. Are we doing theology?:
      1. This is not egghead stuff. (Scholasticism)
      2. This is not biblical trivia.
      3. This is not difficult
        1. “meat of the word” -- It was used as a cop out when discussions got deep
        2. Paul believed that the Corinthians (among others) were up to such discussions
        3. And he regarded the Corinthians as not being much by worldly standards
        4. If they were up to this then we are!
      4. This is foundational.
    2. Make a choice:
      1. We could remain shallow
        1. Comfortable and non-threatening (a little advice now and then)
        2. Go for the emotional boost (self-help, devotional, practical advice)
        3. Maintain the empty rituals (Minimum Daily Requirements, superficial)
      2. We can get deep!
        1. Rise above the world and culture
        2. Be changed in heart, soul, mind, and life by God’s truth.
      3. Are you ready for a change?
        1. Real change, not adjustments of style, etc.
        2. If you do not believe in God but are confronted with his reality – you will change.
        3. If you do not know Christ but are confronted by his teaching and the Gospel – you will change.
        4. What if we honestly confronted what it means to live by the Spirit, dead to sin, working our salvation, walking in newness of life, hoping for the resurrection? Would we change? YES!

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 4 February 2007
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