First Principles 2016 – Introduction

2016 First Principles of the Phoenix International Christian Church

2016 First Principles of the Phoenix International Christian Church

“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)

Download the 2016 First Principles Schedule
Download Slides (pdf) – First Principles Introduction & Seeking God

First Principles – A Key To Maturity!

Throughout the First Principles class we will be covering these teachings at various times. The First Principles study series covers all of these listed “elementary teachings” in detail.  Knowing these teachings is not the same as maturity.  We can have a great deal of bible knowledge and even the ability to teach or explain this doctrine to one another because we have aged in our faith.  However, if we are not actually making disciples” and “teaching them to obey everything [Jesus] commanded” we are not mature.  One of the challenges we face as disciples is grasping this difference between aging in our faith verses maturing in our faith.  The mature disciple lives a life that has impact on the lost actively “teaching others.”  They also have an example that all disciples would want to imitate!  Imitating a “mature” disciple’s example would result in bearing “much fruit!”  Aging in our faith does not give us the precedence to lead nor the right to influence.  Instead, our maturity should be shown in our impact one the lost and the saved because the mature are those who teach others.  This kind of “teaching others” is not a “pulpit” teaching, but a teaching through “one another” discipleship.  In this kind of “one another” teaching we are walking alongside each other and winning lost souls over to Christ together.  “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and He who wins souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) The earlier context of this scripture further crystallizes what biblical maturity looks like.

“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! 13 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)

First Principles – Calling All Disciples

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. (Heb 5:12-13)

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. (Heb 5:12-13)

In this passage God’s Word teaches us that those who teach others are mature, and those that are not teaching others are not mature and need to be reminded of the “elementary truths of God’s word all over again.”  The book of Hebrews is directed at disciples “at large” and not just at those who are leaders.  The specific audience of “Hebrews” is of course Hebrew disciples of Jesus and it deals heavily with the understanding of the “Old Covenant” with regards to Christ.  Although the book does minister to specific needs of the heart of a Hebrew disciple, it’s filled with truths applicable to any disciple of Christ.  Hebrews 5:11-14 is one such passage that calls every disciple to maturity by constantly using the scriptures to train others (as they “ought” to be doing) and themselves.

The words translated “elementary teachings about Christ” are in the Greek “archē logos Christos” which literally work out to “first thing[s]” “words or sayings/teachings” “about/of the Christ.” The “American Standard Version” renders this verse “…the doctrine of the first principles of Christ” which is an example of where we’ve gotten the name for this course – “The First Principles.”

First Principles – Maturity’s Three Part Purpose!

The purpose of the First Principles course is to therefore lead disciples onto maturity, preparing them to teach others even while covering the milk that are these “elementary teachings” or “first principles.”  This purpose is divided into three parts.  The first part is to Solidify the faith and the convictions of every disciple from the Bible.  This will deepen our love and unity for one another in the church.  This love is a sign to this lost world that we are in fact Jesus’ disciples! (cf. John 13:34-35)  The second part is to Unify the disciples in the church on what to teach “everywhere and in every church” (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17)  Every single disciple is called to “make disciples of all nations”, baptize them, and teach them “to obey everything” Jesus “commanded.” (cf. Matthew 28:18-20)  The third part is to Multiply!  We must continually be equipping every disciple with the tools to help others have a relationship with God and be made into disciples of Jesus!

I am very grateful for the 20+ disciples and several friends who were at our First Principles kickoff, “Introduction & Seeking God!” It’s going to be an amazing time of growing to maturity together!  We will be solidifying our faith, unifying our church, and multiplying as disciples!  Let’s be encouraging every disciple that has not graduated from First Principles that is a member of the Phoenix International Christian Church to make the time to be a part of this exciting course!  May we never tire of being reminded and made ready to evangelize the nations in this generation!

To God be all the glory,
We are family until the end,

Jeremy Ciaramella, Evangelist

Jeremy Ciaramella, Evangelist

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