Welcome To First Principles

 
 
 

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14 NIV84

Dave pictured with the brothers from the Campus and Singles who studied the bible with him!

Dave pictured with the brothers from the Campus and Singles who studied the bible with him!

As a congregation we have taken on the exciting task of going through the First Principles study series in order to solidify our faith, unify the body of Christ, and multiply disciples of Jesus!  This key scripture expresses how we who consider ourselves mature “ought to be teachers” and that such competency (and actual teaching) is what biblically is “mature.”  As we “age” in the faith, whether or not we actually are “mature” will show in our ability to confidently teach the “elementary teachings” or First Principles (Hebrews 6:1) to others.  This verse also implies that we are actually “teachers” and as such are actively teaching others. We must not confuse familiarity with the First Principles as maturity. Maturity takes both effectiveness and consistency in teaching the “elementary teachings.” It is written The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30) helping us understand this core principle that the “wise” (ergo, “mature“) among us are able to “win souls.

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.  Hebrews 6:1-3 NIV84

The First Principles study series consists of 10 studies which we’ll be covering on Wednesdays and Sundays as a congregation.  For the next 10 weeks, disciples will need to devote time to the First Principles as if they were taking a college course — studying at least as hard for the First Principles (which are for God’s purposes) as they would for such a secular class.  The studies are deliberately in a consecutive order, and they “build” on each other covering and instilling core convictions in both the disciple leading the study and the friend they are striving to help make into a disciple.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:18-20 NIV84

Andre is restored to the family of God!

Andre is restored to the family of God!

Jesus crystallized his vision in this timeless passage – everyone in every nation must have the chance to be made into a disciple of Jesus.  As someone is made into a disciple of Jesus, they are to be baptized and then taught everything that Jesus commanded.  Many note that in this passage, Jesus was speaking to his eleven apostles (Judas had perished at this point) and some consider this “great commission” of the Lord’s vision solely up to those eleven.  However, this interpretation assumes they had not obeyed this very command!  Jesus just commanded them to “make disciples of all nations,” baptize them and teach them “to obey everything I have commanded you.” 

Assuming Peter the apostle obeyed this final command he would find an open person, make them a disciple, baptize them, and then “teach them to obey everything” that Jesus commanded.  Jesus just commanded Peter to “make disciples of all nations,” baptize them, and teach “them to obey everything.”  Peter would then teach this person to “make disciples, baptize them, and “teach them to obey everything” Jesus commanded…and so on, to the “ends of the earth.

In order for us to fulfill Jesus’ dream, we have to be equipped with the First Principles (“elementary teachings”) so we can make disciples in a way unified with both the Word of God as well as our sister churches in the Sold Out Discipling Movement.  “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4 NIV84)  God is glorified when his people “bear much fruit, showing [themselves] to be [his] disciples.” (John 15:8 NIV84)

We are called to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4:1) and to be “perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Cor 1:10) If we are to truly emulate the 1st century church then what we teach needs to be taught the same everywhere in every church” throughout our family of churches.  We must not accept different levels of commitment and doctrinal drifts in our local congregation or in our sister churches.

“For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” 1 Cor 4:17 NIV84

The last two (9/16 and 9/10) “Good News Emails” have highlighted the extraordinary impact of the “First Principles” when preached even to “preachers.”

Blaise Feumba writes on 9/10/2013:

I received a very warm welcome from Alexis Turgeau, our brother who was a Mainline Church of Christ preacher who attended the 2013 GLC and was baptized a day later! Then, I spent time with three Mainline Church of Christ former preachers that have partnered with Alexis in their quest for a “true revival” for all of Haiti! We started convicting them with The Discipleship Study other important points from the First Principles Studies finally won them around midnight when two of them saw that they had not been baptized as disciples! Later in the day, a former Catholic Priest named Daudier JEAN-JOSEPH joined us from Camp Perrin, a city an hour away from Port-au-Prince! He too became convicted after joining the Discipleship Group I had afterwards with Alexis’ friends.

On Friday, we had a great Chariot of Fire Campaign from 10AM to 4PM with 64 in attendance! And from 7PM to 9PM in different congregation led by another of Alexis’ partners, God gave us about 40 in attendance! After doing Discipleship, L&D with a heavy stress on sins, The Cross, The Church Study,(5 of them are former Church of Christ preachers) were deeply convicted and made the commitment to keep studying! Yesterday on Saturday, I went through most of the studies and started counting the cost individually from 9AM to about 5PM!

Today, God officially launched the Port-au-Prince International Christian Church and blessed us with 55 in attendance! Before and after the service, I continued counting the cost with eager souls wanting to enter the Kingdom! After an hour trip to a historical water spring where the former revolutionary and Emperor DESSALINES used to bathe to find “spiritual renewal,” seven preachers (five of them from the Mainline Church of Christ) were baptized! These men are: LATOUR Reles, Germain JOEL, Daudier JEAN-JOSEPH, Saint-Jeance FRESNEL, Pierre MICHELET, Jean-Louis LOUSBERT and Anel MAGOFFY!

Among these great new disciples is Latour RELES, a 71 years old fellow who has been preaching for 40 years! He was broken after we studied Matthew 28:19-20 and admitted that he was not baptized as a disciple. He fell down on his knees and praised God for keeping him alive to correct his path!

 

The Seven Preachers who were baptized and became sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ!

The Seven Preachers who were baptized and became sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ!

Jean-Louis LOUSBERT, a 45 year old Theology Teacher in the Church of Christ Bible Institute of Delmar, cancelled a speaking engagement in a Church of Christ to be baptized as a sold-out disciple! Pierre MICHELET also was a Bible teacher and preacher in the Church of Christ. Germain JOEL was working closely with the former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and is eager to go back to his congregation outside of Port-au-Prince and challenge his 30 members to follow his example! Saint-Jeance FRESNEL leads a church of 40 in Montrouis and Daudier, a former Catholic Priest now a preacher of a 25 members congregation in Camp-Perrin, are both eager to do the First Principles Series with the congregations they lead!

LATOUR Reles has been preaching for 40 years, but when "taught the way of God more accurately," he joyfully embraces the truth and is baptized into Christ!!

LATOUR Reles has been preaching for 40 years, but when “taught the way of God more accurately,” he joyfully embraces the truth and is baptized into Christ!!

In the 9/16/2013 Good News Email, Blaise continues in covering the impact of the Lord in Haiti as two more preachers became obedient to the faith!  All of these varying Haitian spiritual leaders have been taught both how to teach the First Principles studies as well as how to equip their congregations to teach them.  These new disciples have since returned to their congregations and called them to biblical conversion, thus uniting them with the Sold-out Movement family of churches!  In our own congregation we’ve been blessed with some amazing people becoming true disciples this year, and yet there are many more who await in the Phoenix metropolitan area which as a population of over 4,200,000 souls!

Let us strive as a family to excel in and master the First Principles together with the goal that every one of us is praying for and living diligently as “workers sent into [Christ’s] harvest field!” (Matthew 9:38) Let us be “prepared to..give an answer…with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV84), and that we can see many more made into disciples, baptized, and taught to obey everything our Lord Jesus commanded!  And to our God will be all the Glory!

Jeremy Ciaramella

 

 

 

 

J. M. Ciaramella

(Download PDF of this Article: Welcome To First Principles)

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