OVERVIEW: Laying the Foundations

Taken primarily from Derek Prince’s “Spirit-Filled Believer’s Handbook”

Mostly written in 2003

Building Our Foundation: Hearing

The two ways to build upon our foundation in Christ is to (1) hear and (2) do God’s Word.  “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, AND DOES THEM…” (Matthew 7:24).

Hearing God’s Word accurately is addressed in Discern Truth.

But now that we know how to clearly hear God’s Word, what needs to be done to continue this “building project” of eternal significance?

Building Our Foundation: Doing

James 1:22-25 shows that we must DO what we HEAR in the Bible.

What are the specific foundations laid out in the Bible?…

  • Hebrews 5:11-6:3 (specifically 6:1, 2) shows us the “elementary principles” and “foundation” of which we are to act on:
  1. “…repentance from dead works” (Heb. 6:1)
    • The definition of “repentance from dead works” applies to all things not done in Faith. 
    • The Greek word for repentance means to change your mind and the Hebrew word means to turn back. 
    • Acts 3:19 (among other verses) shows that Faith comes after Repentance (see also Luke 13:3).
    • Matt. 3:1-3, 7, 8 shows John the Baptist preaching repentance.
    • Mark 1:14-15 shows Jesus preaching repentance.
    • Acts 2:37-38 is Peter saying repent.
    • Acts 20:20-21 is Paul saying repent.
    • Luke 15:11-32 gives us the example of the prodigal son repenting.
    • Repentance from dead works means to stop wasting your life with works that are not Christ-based (stop being committed to religion, and start being committed to Christ).
  2. “…faith towards God” (Heb. 6:1):  
    • Romans 4:1-5 shows that we are not justified by our works, but by faith in Christ.  “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,” (v. 5)
    • Romans 13:8-10 shows that love is the requirement and fulfillment of the law.  “Owe no one anything, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (v. 8)  
    • Faith towards God means we are not under legalism (which amounts to dead works), but rather “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
    • Romans 14:23 shows that anything not done in faith is sin.
  3. “…doctrine of baptisms” (Heb. 6:2):
    • The word baptism literally means “to cover”.  When “in” follows, it refers to the element.  When “into” follows, it refers to the result that is produced.
    • Water baptism: 
      • The requirements for water baptism are: hearing the gospel, repentance, faith, public proclamation, identification of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus.
      • 1 Peter 3:20-21 tells us, first, what baptism is NOT, and then what it is.  According to this verse, baptism is not some kind of physical cleaning, but it is THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD.
    • Holy Spirit baptism: 
      • Matthew 3:11 (see also Luke 3:16) shows that Jesus was coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit and Fire.
      • Acts 2:38, 39 says: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”  The Greek word for “receive” is lambano, which suggests taking.  It is not a passive verb, receiving is an action one must take.
      • You can have the Holy Spirit without being baptized in the Holy Spirit, but you cannot have the baptism in the Holy Spirit without having the Holy Spirit that comes from faith in the gospel.
      • (Note: baptism in the Holy Spirit is not to be confused with the Holy Spirit you receive when you believe on Christ, although, if instructed properly, one can receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit when they first believe)
    • Fire baptism:
      • As we have seen Matt. 3:11 shows that Jesus was to baptize with Holy Spirit and fire.  The fire baptism is tribulation.
      • Acts 14:22 tells us that disciples of Christ must suffer tribulation.
      • Luke 12:50 says that Jesus has a distressing baptism that he must receive.
      • Putting these 3 verses together, we can see that the baptism in fire is a baptism of suffering/tribulation (we will delve into this concept deeper in future Bible studies).
    • Jesus, as our example, did all of these baptisms…as he was born from the virgin Mary and Holy Spirit, so that he had the Holy Spirit at birth (like believers receive the Holy Spirit when they are born again), then when he was 30 he was baptized in water by John (water baptism), then the Holy Spirit descended on Him (even though He was born with the Holy Spirit, this shows that it was a separate receiving of the Holy Spirit, a.k.a. baptism in the Holy Spirit), then He was led into the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan and eventually died on the cross (fire baptism).
  4. “…laying on of hands” (Heb. 6:2):
    • The laying on of hands is for: body ministry (Acts 6:6), healing the sick (James 5:14; Acts 28:8), impartation of gifts (Acts 13:3; 2 Tim. 1:6), to commission members into ministry and apostleship (Acts 6:6; 13:3), to appoint elders (Acts 13:3; 14:23), and to impart a spiritual gift (Acts 8:18; Rom. 1:11-12; 1 Timothy 4:14).
  5. “…resurrection of the dead” (Heb. 6:2):
    • 1 Cor. 15:12-23 shows that Jesus conquered death by resurrecting, and that means that we too will live eternally through belief in Jesus.  The belief in the resurrection of the dead is foundational to us as Christians.  Clinging to this belief protects us from anything Satan can throw, and gives us an indescribable hope.
  6. “…eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:2):
    • Matt. 11:20-24 and Mark 16:16 show that anyone not believing on Jesus will go to hell for eternity, although they will also be judged in varying degrees based on what they did on earth (but it must be noted that even the best of hell is infinitely worse than the worst of heaven).
    • 1 Cor. 3:9-15 shows that even Christians will be eternally judged based on their works.  “each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (vv. 13-15)
    • With eternal judgment as a foundational belief, and something we keep in mind, what we do on earth will take a proper perspective, and it will be much easier to avoid dead works.

Are there other foundational practices laid out in scripture?…

Acts 2:42 shows that the first church continually practiced 4 things that led to miracles (v. 43), unity (v. 44), worship (v. 47), and masses of people being saved (v.47).  

These are:

  1. Bible study (“apostles’ doctrine”)
  2. Fellowship (with other believers)
  3. Communion/eating together (“breaking of bread”)
  4. Prayers

Other foundational doctrines and practices are covered elsewhere in Scripture (see Foundations).

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