|Source: Audrey Mabley|
Who Are Christians? - People sometimes assume that being a Christian means; going to church, reading the Bible and being a good person, however, whilst all of those activities are important to a Christian life, none of those are what makes a person a Christian. In Acts 16:25-28, which takes place after Jesus’ life on earth, His followers Paul and Silas were in prison. They were singing hymns and praising God despite their awful circumstances, then suddenly there was a huge earthquake causing their chains to be broken. When the jailer realized, his prisoners were about to escape, he prepared to kill himself but Paul and Silas cried out to him, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here’. This is what happened next in Acts 16:30-31 ‘Then he (the jailer) brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household’. This Bible account gives a clear answer to the question, ‘What should a person do to be saved’? The answer is the one given by Paul and Silas; ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’.
What do Christians believe? - Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word. Christians however do not believe the Bible contains the Word of God, but that the Bible is the Word of God. This means that Christians do not believe that some parts of the Bible are true and some parts are untrue, but rather we believe that the whole Bible is true. Christians also believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the He is part of the Trinity, which is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Christians we worship all parts of the Trinity as equally one God.
Following Jesus - While Jesus was on earth He was the greatest teacher, and Christians follow the teachings of Jesus. However, it is important to make a strong point of clarification here; many times, when you ask people; ‘What does it mean to be a Christian’? they will say, 'I’m a Christian because I try to be a good person’. A Christian however is someone who trusts in Jesus as his Saviour and trying to be a good person will never get you into heaven. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. It is sin that separates us from God. God is perfect, and when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, it is our sin that separated us from God (Genesis 3). It is only because of the saving work of Jesus that we are able to find salvation. The good works of a Christian life are important and Jesus spoke of them often. Other places in the Bible explain how a Christian is supposed to live, but the distinction is that these works are not to earn salvation. One of the clearest Bible passages about the role of good works in the Christian life can be found in Ephesians 2:8-10 ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them’. This makes Christianity different from all other religions, which usually teach that people need to work to earn salvation by their own efforts. Christians trust that salvation is a free gift from God.
Peaceful Assurance - People often wonder, ‘how can I know for sure that I am a Christian? I believe, but I have doubts. How do I know for sure I’ll go to heaven when I die? One example is the gift of incredible, life-giving peace, a peace that goes far beyond anything we can humanly understand; Philippians 4:7 ‘And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’. Any religion or system that attempts to rely on good works or our own self-righteousness, can and will leave us feeling doubtful, because none of us can be good enough for God. We will forever attempt to make amends, try harder, and hope for the best. This is not the case with Jesus! We have amazing rest and peace in knowing the debt of our sin has been paid. There are plenty of things I sometimes lie awake at night worrying about, but my eternal salvation is not one of them. Jesus says it, and I trust it.
The most important question - When Jesus was on earth, He had the following conversation with his disciples; Mark 8:27-29 ‘Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, Who do people say I am? They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets. But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am? Peter answered, You are the Messiah’. The disciples were responding to the local town gossip. Some people said Jesus was John the Baptist (who had already been beheaded at this point — so in other words, was Jesus a ghost?), some people said Jesus was Elijah (a prophet of importance, believed to impart wisdom in Jewish tradition), who had come back to earth as foretold, and some people said Jesus was a new prophet. Then Jesus asked the disciples the most important question, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ This is the same question Jesus is asking you and I today and is the most important question you will ever answer in your life, because the answer will determine how you spend eternity. Peter’s answer was an example for us because he proclaimed with great faith; ‘You are the Christ’.
When we say, ‘Jesus is the Christ’, we are also saying that He is ‘the anointed one’ and ‘the King chosen by God’. The titles of ‘Christ’ and ‘Messiah’ are therefore meaningful ones because we see the whole Bible, and in fact all of history, coming together in the person of Jesus. The Bible is a collection of books written by different people yet each book was divinely inspired by God. The books of the New Testament tell of Jesus’s life and the beginning of the church on earth. The books of the Old Testament point to the Saviour, or Messiah, who is to come. Here we see Jesus as the fulfilment of that promise. Christians trust in Jesus as the Messiah, both the King and Ruler of the world and the King of their lives. Amen
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Author: Sara Borgstede
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