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CHRISTIANITY - BASIC CHRISTIANITY

BASIC CHRISTIANITY


THE DEITY OF CHRIST, THE BELIEF THAT JESUS
•    WAS GOD BORN IN HUMAN FORM OF A VIRGIN MOTHER
•    WAS CRUCIFIED AND RESURRECTED
•    ASCENDED TO HEAVEN
•    WILL RETURN TO CLAIM BELIEVERS
IS THE FOUNDATION AND FOCAL POINT OF CHRISTIANITY.

SALVATION DEPENDS ON THE RESURRECTION (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). THE PHYSICAL BODY OF CHRIST HAD TO BE RETRIEVED FROM CONDEMNATION, THE ONLY WAY THAT GOD COULD MAKE A COMPLETE CONQUEST OF DEATH AND SHOW HIS PLEDGE AND PROMISE OF OUR OWN RESURRECTION. RESURRECTION MEANS THE PRESENCE OF THE LIVING CHRIST.

OUR JESUS IS NOT STILL HANGING ON THE CROSS! HE APPEARED SEVERAL TIMES OVER A FORTY DAY PERIOD AFTER HIS RESURRECTION AND WAS PHYSICALLY SEEN BY MANY PEOPLE. HIS BODY LOOKED SIMILAR TO THE ONE NAILED TO THE CROSS. HE COULD EAT, SPEAK, OCCUPY SPACE, AND YET HE COULD PASS THROUGH OBJECTS.

WHEN WE ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT THE MEANING OF THE CROSS, THEN WE CAN FIND RELIEF FROM OUR GUILT BY SALVATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. WE ARE NOT EXPECTED TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THE DEPTH OF GOD'S LOVE THROUGH THE TESTIMONY AT THE CROSS, BUT WE ARE EXPECTED TO ACCEPT IT WITH FAITH. WE MUST ACCEPT THE FACT THAT JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY (John 3:3-7; John 11:25-26).

CHRISTIANS USE THE WORDS “BORN AGAIN” FROM John 3:3 TO DESCRIBE CONVERSION.
•    THE WORD “CONVERSION” MEANS “NEW BIRTH” OR “REGENERATION.”
•    “BORN AGAIN” DOES NOT MEAN THE USE OF SOME SPIRITUAL GIFT –THAT WOULD BE WORKS.
•    REBIRTH IN CHRIST IS NOT JUST A FEELING BUT A NEW WAY OF LIFE GIVEN TO US BY GOD.
•    REBIRTH IS NOT A RE-FORMATION. IT IS A TRANS-FORMATION WITH A CHANGED WILL, CHANGED OBJECTIVES FOR LIVING, CHANGED AFFECTIONS, AND CHANGED DISPOSITION.
•    WE RECEIVE A NEW NATURE AND HEART, BECOMING A NEW CREATION IN JESUS CHRIST.

OUR PERSONAL SALVATION MEANS THAT WE ARE CONVERTED FROM A SELF-DIRECTED LIFE TO A CHRIST-DIRECTED LIFE. GOD HELPS US PREPARE FOR OUR SALVATION BY MAKING US WANT TO TURN FROM OUR SINS WITH THE HELP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. OUR CONVERSION IS AN EVENT, THE EXPERIENCE OF MOVING FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT, FROM SPIRITUAL DEATH TO LIFE IN JESUS.

JOHN NEWTON WROTE THE HYMN “AMAZING GRACE THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME.” He was a slave trader, but when he became a Christian, he realized that “wretch” described best his sinful nature (1 Peter 2:1-2).

•    WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY. OUR BASIS FOR BELIEF IN CHRIST IS IN HIS RESURRECTION. WITHOUT THIS BELIEF, THERE IS NO SALVATION.
•    WE MUST BASE OUR HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE ON CHRIST ALONE. SALVATION MUST BE ONLY BY FAITH, NOT BY WORKS (Matthew 22:36-40; John 6:28-29; Galatians 2:16)

SOMETIMES PRIDE GETS IN THE WAY. PEOPLE THINK THEY MUST DO SOMETHING EXTRA AND DON’T WANT TO FEEL HELPLESS. SALVATION IS FOREVER. HOW MANY WOULD ACCEPT CHRIST IF WE THOUGHT WE ARE ONLY SAVED FOR A WHILE? WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT?

1 John 5:13 TALKS ABOUT ETERNAL LIFE. BEFORE WE WERE SAVED, WE WANTED FREEDOM, BUT WE NEVER HAD TOTAL FREEDOM UNTIL WE KNEW JESUS CHRIST. CHRIST MADE US FREE.
•    WE WANT TO BE FREE FROM SOMETHING THAT HAD COME INTO OUR LIVES THAT WAS TERRIBLY UNPLEASANT.
•    WE WANT TO BE FREE FROM SOME HABIT.
•    WE WANT TO BE FREE FROM BITTERNESS AGAINST HUSBAND OR WIFE OR FATHER OR MOTHER.
•    WE WANT TO HAVE SOMEONE COME INTO OUR LIVES AND HELP US. THAT PERSON IS JESUS. HE IS ALWAYS READY TO HELP US.

JESUS IS THE CREATOR. HE IS HOLY. HE IS UNCHANGEABLE. JESUS CHRIST IS OUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR! ON THEIR OWN, PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE. GOD HAS TO HELP CHANGE LIVES. GOD HAS TO HELP PEOPLE REPENT, AND HE WILL HELP IF PEOPLE LET HIM.

IN JESUS’ DAY MANY PEOPLE WERE HYPOCRITES, AND HE CONDEMNED THEM. THEY PROFESSED GOD WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEARTS WERE FAR FROM HIM. HOW MANY PEOPLE TODAY CONFESS CHRIST WITH THEIR LIPS BUT NOT WITH THEIR HEARTS? Revelation 20:11-12 GIVES A PICTURE OF JUDGMENT.

SCRIPTURE INDICATES THAT WHEN WE COME TO CHRIST AND BELIEVE THAT HE IS RISEN AND RECEIVE HIM AS OUR SAVIOR, OUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE. IT IS AMAZING THAT GOD HAS THE CAPACITY TO FORGET OUR SINS. HE CAN’T REMEMBER THEM BECAUSE THEY WERE TAKEN AWAY BY THE BLOOD THAT WAS SHED ON THE CROSS. GOD LOOKS AT US NEW EACH DAY!

THE CROSS WAS A JUDGMENT OF MANKIND. GOD AS A MAN WENT TO THE CROSS BECAUSE HE LOVES US. AND WHILE HE WAS ON THE CROSS, JESUS HAD THE CAPACITY TO THINK OF US. HE TOOK ALL OUR SINS WHEN HE DIED–THEN AROSE ON THE THIRD DAY.

WHEN WE BECOME TRUE BELIEVERS, THE LIGHT OF CHRIST IS IN US AS SOMETHING REAL AND WELCOME. THE MANNER OF OUR EXISTENCE CHANGES TO TAKE A CHARACTER WHICH IS DUE TO THE TRUE LIGHT SHINING IN OUR HEARTS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

The very first step of obedience is to turn to God in repentance and receive His salvation through faith in Christ. Believing that Christ existed as a good person and teacher is not enough. Heart trust in Christ is what's needed. In fact, God's judgment against sin has been "postponed" so that all will have time to respond (2 Peter 3:9). No excuse for rejecting Christ is excusable. Let’s put it this way: If you refuse Christ, be sure that you have a real good excuse thought up because it's the excuse you will give when you stand before God on Judgment Day. Do you intend to live your life according to God's will?

THE INVITATION
★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
              Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
              I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
              Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

 

    Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church   Sedalia, Missouri   June 14,2015