- Q?What is a Christian?
Christians are those who believe that God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, live in communion with God and in the power of the Holy Spirit, and take their place in the fellowship of Christ’s Church.
What is a Christian’s calling? A Christian is called by God to trust and follow Jesus Christ to keep company with him; to learn from his words and actions; and to share in his mission, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in company with other Christians.
What is the mission of Jesus Christ? To proclaim the coming of God’s Kingdom, to call people to repent and to receive the Kingdom of God, to turn from their sins and believe the Good News.
What is repentance? Repentance is turning in sorrow away from sin and turning to God to seek forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ.
What is sin? Sin is the condition of estrangement from God which affects the whole human race. Sins are specific actions, words or thoughts which arise from our sinful condition and deny the presence, power and purpose of God.
What are the effects of sin? Sin hinders the effects of God’s grace. It corrupts our relationships with him and with one another, with the world in which we live and with ourselves. The effect of sin is discord, where God intended harmony.
What is the Good News? That God has acted decisively in Jesus Christ to deal with our sinful condition: that is, he has acted to save us. God offers us his love, forgiveness, acceptance and new life in Christ.
What is salvation? Salvation is the forgiveness of our sin, deliverance from guilt, and the gift of new life in Christ. It is a process that begins now, gives us victory over death and is completed with God in heaven.
- Q?WHAT DOES GOD DO FOR US IN CHRIST?
How does God save us? God as a free gift converts us by his grace, turning us from rebels into friends. He puts us right with himself, gives us new life in Christ, and makes us his own holy people through the Holy Spirit. We receive his gifts when we turn to him in repentance and put our faith in Jesus Christ who was crucified and raised again for us.
What is grace? Grace is God’s sovereign love and favour, freely given to undeserving and hostile people.
What is conversion? It is the change which God works in us as we respond to his grace in repentance and faith.
What is faith in Jesus Christ? Faith in Jesus Christ is trusting that through him alone God gives us his salvation. We demonstrate our faith by desiring to do God’s will and by the practical love we show to others.
What has Jesus done? Jesus Christ came to reveal God to men and women and to offer them God’s grace. To achieve this he shared their human life and death, dying on the cross. God brought him back from death with great power and glory, thereby conquering death and sin, and opening the Kingdom of God to all believers.
How are we to understand Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? Jesus Christ suffered death and was raised again for us, so that we might live for him. The Bible uses various expressions for this, of which the following are a few examples:
– he gave his life to redeem all people;
– he is compared with the Passover Lamb, sacrificed as a sign of God’s freeing of his people;
– he is also compared with the lamb sacrificed on the Day of Atonement;
– being joined to Christ is described as a new creation;
– by his death and resurrection Christ has defeated the powers of evil.
None of these is complete by itself: together they point to the fact that through the cross God acted decisively on behalf of the world he had created.
What is the new birth? New birth, regeneration and conversion are all terms used to describe the process by which we are brought by God from the state of sin into the new life in Jesus Christ, in which we grow through the working of the Holy Spirit in us.
How are we put right with God? We are put right with God (that is, justified) when God forgives our sin, accepts us, declares us to be his children, and restores our relationship with himself, on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done, to which we respond by faith in him.
How do we become God’s holy people? We become God’s holy people (that is, we are sanctified) through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As we are renewed from within, we are transformed by God’s patient love into the likeness of Christ we are given the power to do the will of our Father, and we grow up into Christian maturity, individually and corporately.
How can we be assured of our salvation? Through the promises given us in the Bible, by the inner assurance given us by the Holy Spirit, by the evidence in our actions of God’s working within us, and through the encouragement of fellow Christians.
What is the state of those who refuse to repent and turn to God? They continue to be under the judgement of God and to be separated from him.
What is the promise of God to those who persevere in faith to their lives’ end? The abundant life which they have already begun to enjoy will become theirs in full measure, they will experience for themselves Christ’s victory over death, and they will share fully the eternal joy of all believers in the presence of God. This is what is meant by heaven.
- Q?WHAT IS THE ‘NEW LIFE’ IN ACTION?
What is the new life? It is the life in the power of the Holy Spirit which is lived by those whom God has made heirs of his Kingdom through the saving work of Christ
What is the Kingdom of God? It is his rightful reign over everything he has made, at present fully recognized only by those who have accepted it in Jesus Christ. In the end God’s rule will be acknowledged by all, and established undisputed when he judges the whole human race through Jesus Christ.
How can we obey God’s rule? We do everything out of thankfulness to God for his love for us, shown above all in Jesus Christ We do God’s will by the power of the Holy Spirit whom he gives us.
How does God guide us? God guides us from within, through the Holy Spirit’s prompting of our conscience. He guides us through the Bible, as we study its teaching. He guides us through Christian fellowship, the advice of friends, and as we respond to daily events and circumstances. He guides us particularly as we seek to be imitators of Jesus Christ
Where do we find the way God wants us to live? God’s purpose for us is that his law should be written in our wills, so that our motive for action comes from within. One effect of our sin, however, is that we are, at best, only imperfectly aware of God’s law within. So God has given us his law in other ways. In summary form it is found in the commandments of the Old and New Testaments. It is developed and applied in the life and teaching of Jesus. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to write it afresh in the hearts of God’s people.
What are the Ten Commandments? Prologue: I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.
1. Worship no God but me.
2. Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. But I show my love to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my laws.
3. Do not use my name for evil purposes, because I, the Lord your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.
4. Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. You have six days in which to do your work but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work – neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country. In six days I, the Lord, made the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything in them but on the seventh day I rested. That is why I, the Lord, blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.
5. Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you.
6. Do not commit murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not accuse anyone falsely.
10. Do not desire another man’s house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.
What does God teach us in the Ten Commandments? He teaches us how to respond to his grace by loving and worshipping him and loving our neighbour.
How did Jesus interpret the Ten Commandments? He applied them not only to our outward actions but to our inward thoughts and intentions, by revealing their full demands; he condemned unrighteous anger, lust and hatred, pride and anxiety. He also taught that faith in God means more than obeying commandments; it is giving our whole selves in trust to him.
How did Jesus sum up the Commandments? He said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” He also said: “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
How do we show our love to God? We show our love to God when we worship and serve him with joy, faith and obedience.
How do we love our neighbour as ourselves? We love our neighbour as ourselves by doing for our neighbour everything we would like others to do for us. Jesus showed what such love might mean by dying for others.
Who is our neighbour? Our neighbour is whoever we meet or to whom we can show love. There are no limits, of race, religion or geography, to those to whom we should show neighbourly love.
How is God’s law fulfilled? God’s law reveals his will. Jesus Christ fulfilled, in perfect love, his Father’s will. He gives us power to do the same by his example and by his inward presence through the Holy Spirit.
What are the marks of those who do the will of God? They show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But the greatest gift is love.
What is Christian perfection? Through the Holy Spirit God has given us his love so that we may love him in return with all our heart, soul mind and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves. This gift is offered to all Christians, and by responding we affirm that there is no limit to what the grace of God is able to do in a human life. By giving us the Holy Spirit, God assures us of his love for us and enables us to love as he, in Christ, loves us. When God’s love is perfected in us, we so represent Christ to our neighbours that they see him in us without hindrance from us.
Perfect love, as Christian perfection is also called, is the result of, and can only be maintained by, complete dependence on Jesus Christ. It is given either gradually or at one moment, but does not mean that spiritual growth has ended, for Christian perfection is perfection in love only: it is not freedom from making mistakes, or from ignorance. Only God is absolutely perfect.
- Q?What is prayer?
Prayer is the communication, spoken and unspoken, that takes place between ourselves and God.
Why do we need to pray? We need to pray because we were created for friendship with God and have been reconciled to him in Jesus Christ. Prayer is the natural expression of this loving relationship with God our heavenly Father. We pray to him because we trust him and want to do his will in everything. We pray to him because we depend on him and seek his guidance, strength and comfort. Jesus himself frequently prayed and taught his disciples to do likewise.
What should our prayers include? Our prayers should include: Adoration – we praise and worship God for what he is; Confession – we come to God in penitence, admitting what we are and seeking his forgiveness; Intercession – we pray to God on behalf of others; Petition – we pray to God about our own needs and concerns; Thanksgiving – we thank him for all that he has given us, especially for our salvation in Jesus Christ. Meditation – we reflect quietly on the nature of God and what he has done, and wait for him to speak to us.
Does God always hear our prayers? God always hears our prayers, but does not always answer immediately or in the way we expect. Or he may answer, and we fail to realize that he has done so. Or we may be the means by which God answers our own prayers or those of others.
How did Jesus teach us to pray? He gave us the prayer we call The Lord’s Prayer, which is both a prayer for us to use and a model for our own prayers.
What is the Lord’s Prayer? Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen (Note: at Christ Church we also use a modern version)
Why do we pray in the name of Christ? To pray in his name is to pray with his authority, as those whom he has saved and reconciled to God. To pray in his name implies, also, that what we are asking is what he himself would ask for us; that is, it is in accordance with his will, and that we submit our requests to that test.