To find out more, why not join us for Christianity Explored?
Christianity Explored provides people with an opportunity to look at the Christian message in further detail in a relaxed, informal setting. We promise that we won’t ask you to pray, read aloud or sing. We will simply go through the answers to three questions by looking at Mark’s gospel in the Bible:
- Who is Jesus?
- Why did He come?
- What does that mean for me?
Or if you want to find out more straight away, please read on.
The heart of the matter
For many people, the question ‘what is a Christianity?’ is a confusing one. You may have learned about Jesus and the Bible in school or from attending church, but maybe you can’t see the point of it all. You may have doubts about the validity of the Christian message, or the reliability of the Bible? Maybe you want answers to questions like: How can God love us when there is so much suffering? or Surely science proves God is not there?
This section explains a little bit more about what we believe and why we believe it. If you are looking for an answer to a specific question you may find it in our Commonly Asked Questions section.
The sort of questions mentioned above all have real and convincing answers. However, they don’t make sense until you think about some bigger questions first, such as – Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Is there a God and can I talk to him? Is God interested in me?
We believe that all these questions were answered once and for all when Jesus came into the world.
Jesus taught that the world and everything in it belong to God. What we do with the world is important. God has not lost interest in it or in the people who live on it, the Bible tells us that He loves them with an amazing love.
When the world was created, Jesus was involved and in charge. This is what the Bible says about Jesus’ role in creating the world:
“..for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see…Everything was created through him and for him. (Colossians 1 v16 )
We believe that , at the beginning of time, God created us and planned that we would live in real friendship with Him, knowing Him personally and recognising His ultimate authority over our lives. In addition, we believe that the creator of the universe knows and wants what is best for us (which makes sense when you think about it).
But we are rebels!
But, there is a big problem… we all reject God and His offer of friendship, wanting to control our own lives, wanting to be independent – free from rule and authority.
In a way, we lead a personal revolution or coup d’etat against God because we want to be in charge of our own destiny.
So we throw God’s love and His offer of friendship back in His face – we choose instead to live without Him, and often we live as though He doesn’t exist!
It is this rebellion, rejecting God and all that He stands for, which gives us a self-centred approach to our lives. It is this rebellion that allows some to murder, steal or commit adultery. But it is this same rebellion that causes pride, jealousy, selfishness or hate in us. The Bible uses a collective term for all these things – it calls them ‘sin’. Sin matters because it damages our lives now, but also, if we don’t work out how to deal with it in this life.. it has serious consequences for our next life, in eternity.
How to stop the revolution (discovering friendship with God)
God in His love and mercy urges people everywhere to turn back to Him so that they can discover the relationship with Him that He planned. He wants each one of us to experience the love, forgiveness and new life that He offers freely – now and in eternity.
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6 v 23)
God says we need to ‘repent’ – which means that we do a metaphorical U-turn in our lives – we turn from our sin and living for ourselves and instead we start living for Him. When we turn from our sins and ask God to forgive them, we are not punished for our rebellion, as we ought to be. Instead we experience God’s love and welcome – we are accepted as if we’d never been rebels at all! This is possible because when Jesus died on the cross; He took the punishment we deserve for our sin, He loved us and gave His life for us so that we could be re-connected with God.
A new beginning is possible
When you stop rebelling and allow Jesus to control your life, you look the same and might feel the same… but you begin to change. Becoming a Christian is like stepping from darkness into light.
You don’t lose your identity, but you become more complete. You discover an inner peace, security and fulfilment that simply can’t be found anywhere else. What’s more, you discover the greatest friend you can ever know – Jesus Christ.
You don’t become a “Christian clone” – you become the unique, special person that God created you to be and you enjoy the incredible benefits of being re-connected with the God who has always loved you.
So what is a Christian?
Essentially it is someone who recognises that God has the right to control our life, but that we have rebelled against Him and deserve to be punished. It is also means believing that Jesus died on the cross taking the punishment that our rebellion (sins) deserve and then responding to God’s call to submit to Him and to receive the love, forgiveness and new life He offers.
Having done that, we know that we have been forgiven and brought back into friendship with Him. We also know that at the end of this life, we will spend the next life with God in Heaven for eternity, living under His loving rule (the way God planned it).
In addition, in this life we can see God changing us and making us new and we trust God with our lives, putting Him in the “driving seat”.
How do you become a Christian?
Well, you become a Christian when you trust in Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive your sin. That involves saying sorry for the rebel you have been and trusting Jesus by seeking to live according to Gods plan. Your commitment to God begins in your response.
Your response is to turn away from your life of rejecting Jesus and trust God to forgive you.
If you are ready to make this change, talk to God in prayer – asking for His forgiveness, expressing your desire to change and to give God control of your life and future.
It might look/sound a bit like this:
Jesus, I realise that you are God and have the right to control my life. I have rebelled against you, sinning in thought, word and deed – sometimes deliberately and sometimes unconsciously. I’m sorry for the way I have lived and ask you to forgive me. I want to obey you in the future. Thank you Jesus that you died on the cross to make this relationship with you possible. Please come into my life and take control of it.
God is listening and longing to answer the cry of your heart for forgiveness and new life. If you take this step, the next step is to talk to another Christian – and we’d love to hear from you.