The Christian Faith
Here are suggestions to help if you might like to discover more about the Christian faith for yourself. You may find it helps to know more through a church or group where the message of Jesus from the Bible is clear.
An introduction to the message about Jesus Christ follows these 5 suggestions
3. You may have found out enough to want to do something about it. The Christian faith begins for each person by taking a step for themselves. This turning point can be put into quite simple words. Here is one way to make it clear, and a prayer to help make that step:
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3v16 (NIV).
Although we are separated from God because of our sin, he sent Jesus to take our sin away by his death on the cross, so we can know his love for ourselves.
It is when we accept our need of his forgiveness, and what he has done for us, that we can come to God and know him for ourselves. We can be restored to the God who made us and know him as our Father, and this begins when we ADMIT our sin.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1v9 (NIV)
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2v8 (NIV)
All we need to bring us to God has been done for us by Jesus, and our part is simply to trust in him. We are unable to save ourselves and must depend on what Jesus did when he died and was raised again from the dead.
We are putting our trust in what God has promised for ourselves, when we come to him in this way, and we can be sure we belong to him because of this, whatever we may feel. We come to know God when we BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10v9 (NIV)
When we come to know God through faith in Jesus, this is the beginning of a new life, in which we can be sure of the love and help of God. We find this more and more as we learn how to live in the way he teaches us, especially through what Jesus said in the Bible.
Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth.” John 14v15-17 (NIV)
We have the Spirit of God with us to help us and the Bible to show us the way, and we grow in knowing the love of God and the life he has for us, when we COMMIT our life to him.
The words thank you, sorry, and please and are simple, but they carry a lot of weight when they are expressed in an important relationship. These words help to make this prayer, which expresses the need to ADMIT our sin, BELIEVE in Jesus, and COMMIT our life, when we come to God for ourselves.
“Father God, I come to you now through Jesus, grateful to learn the truth about him in the message of Bible. Thank you for the love which made you send Jesus into the world to die in my place, and for the life I can know because he was raised from the dead. Help me to know how much I need your forgiveness, as I now say sorry for my sin, and please answer me as you have promised, and help me to live as Jesus has shown and taught us.”
Remember you depend upon what Jesus has already done, and on his promises, who died and rose again for you.
Jesus said “I am with you always” Matthew 28v20.
4. You may find it helps to tell others who will understand about your faith, but of course this can be challenging too. The Christian way of life is a shared one, as Jesus himself showed, so that your faith grows stronger as you learn more.
If you would like to ask anything about the Christian faith please be sure a reply to this website is confidential, and the pastor of this church will answer you, without asking anything of you. Use the contact us page.
Here is an introduction to themes we have explored on Sunday mornings
THE GOOD NEWS FROM MARK
We need God to help us get the message of Jesus, but a little imagination helps! Not adding to the Bible, but to the impression of the words, like good news. In the first line of his book, Mark meant a great mass event, like a military parade, the tour of a triumphant sports team, the grand arrival of the emperor. The Beginning, the Good News, the Messiah, the Son of God! In a few phrases Mark proclaims a powerful message. It is not just his first line but also a celebration, don’t miss it!
When Mark uses the word beginning, he means much more than the obvious. He is saying this is the source of knowing Jesus. He echoes the first words of the Bible like John does, to show the message about Jesus comes from the source, the origin of everything. Yet he also means this is the basic message, this is the foundation, this is what you need to know about Jesus, this is where to start.
Without the Jesus of the Gospel story we have nothing. There is very good reason to trust what has been kept so we have it in our hands today. And certainly without the message of Jesus in the Gospels, we have no faith, no reality, no sure source of the truth of God. This is how we measure and compare anything else, and question what source we rely upon, for our own faith in Jesus. Tradition? Church? Family? Sentiment? Preacher? Experience?
There is nothing more important than who Jesus is and what he has done. This is not just the answer to the Sunday School question which is always 'Jesus' or 'God'. This is not just the obvious or the familiar or the predictable. The most important question of all is, do I have an understanding of Jesus for myself? Not just a hand me down or what someone else said or what you have always heard.
How would you answer the questions "Who is Jesus?", "What did he do?", and "Why does it matter?", in a straightforward way? We are encouraged to be ready to give a reason for what we believe, to reply when asked about the hope we have. Others should know you are a Christian believer. Your own testimony is important, how you have found his presence and help and answers to prayer. It is also important above all, that your faith and testimony and mine rest on the truth about Jesus.
Some think that the Christian message is about love, but it is about Jesus and his love. There are many kinds of spirituality and other versions of Jesus, but the truth is in the Gospels alone. We did not set out to be distinct from other ways, but the way Jesus spoke about himself leaves us no alternative. There is no mistaking the clear message of Jesus about himself in the Gospels, and he stands unique.
There is nothing more important than who Jesus is and what he has done, nothing in your life, nothing in the world.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
A line from the song of a TV theme tune, got stuck in my mind and made me think. 'Back to the beginning.'
What are the most important things in my life? If everything but the essentials was removed, what are these?
What if you had to start all over again? What would you need, if you had to go back to the beginning?
Luke 4 v 1-4 shows the message about Jesus rests on the truth of what happened, carefully kept and passed on.
These things are about the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, which are the same for us all, the basis of our faith.
People say they believe in God because of what they see in creation, but is this a direct personal relationship?
The figure of Jesus appears in history books of his time, but nothing which could lead to personal faith in him.
The basis of the possibility of knowing Jesus personally, is the Gospels in the Bible, whatever your experience.
There is very good reason to regard them as reliable records, and if we do not, we cannot know Jesus at all.
In the Gospels we have a record of what Jesus said and did, his teachings, miracles, and how he spoke of himself.
How Jesus spoke of himself is the hub around which all else turns, this is the heart of the truth about him.
If what Jesus said about himself is true, he is real and we can know him, otherwise the message cannot be true.
Jesus has said too much about himself for us to put that aside, or decide the truth of his message, or only part of it, for ourselves.
We can only know Jesus for ourselves, whoever we are, on the basis of what he has said and done.
C. S. Lewis is well known for emphasizing this core of our faith, that Jesus was either who he said, or mad or worse.
Of course what Jesus said about his purpose, is focused above all on his death on the cross and resurrection.
He repeatedly insisted that his death and rising again was his most important work, as in Luke 9v23, 24 v 25-27.
So for each one of us the basis of our faith, the only foundation for our own experience, is what Jesus said and did.
The things upon which I depend as you do are the story, the words, the cross and the rising of Jesus.
We have turned to Luke to see these fundamental things, which are the same for the other Gospels.
John wrote his Gospel in a different style and pattern, but the basis is the same, what Jesus said and did, as he says in John 20v31.
Take one example, in John chapter 6, which tells of when Jesus says ‘I am the Bread of Life’, after he fed thousands from a picnic.
Notice the story of the reaction of controversy and division, which the succession of Jesus’ real personal claims provoke.
The full importance of what Jesus said is, there is no other conclusion than he saw himself as the Son of God.
Think too in this, of how he spoke about his relationship with the Father, and see the vivid reaction to this, as in John 10v30.
It is only in the Gospels that the full message of Jesus is unfolded, who he is, and why he came into the world.
This message focuses fully on him, and above all on his death and resurrection, seen in the light of the Bible.
These things are the basis of our faith, your faith, my faith, the same for any and every person who knows Jesus.
We may come by many routes, early or later in life, there may be gaps or a lifetime, but the basis is the same.
It is because Jesus said these things about himself, we cannot trust him on any other basis, it is not open to us.
It is because the Son of God died in our place, and he rose from the dead as he promised, that we can trust him.
We trust in Jesus Christ on the firm foundation of the message about him in the Gospels, so we can know him for ourselves.