Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Christian?

A Christian is a follower of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. (Acts11:26). Just as a Muslim accepts and promotes the teachings of Mohammed or a Buddhist accepts and promotes the teachings of Buddha, a Christian consciously decides to accept and promote the teachings of Jesus (Acts 26:28).

 

If I’ve done something really wrong, will God forgive me?

Yes! The good news from God is that everyone can have a fresh start with God (2 Peter 3:9). The only requirement is a sincere desire and intention to turn away from what is wrong and to follow God (2 Chronicles7:14; Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 55:6-7; Mark 1:14-15; Acts 3:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). In the Bible, God forgave cheaters (see the story of Jacob in Genesis 27 and 32), murderers (David in 2 Samuel 12), adulterers (an unnamed woman in John 8:1-11), and even those who had turned away from God earlier (Samson in Judges 16 and 17). Today every person is offered forgiveness in Christ with the opportunity for a fresh start (Jeremiah3:12-14; 2 Corinthians 7:8-11).

 

What is the purpose of my life?

There are two answers to this question. First, God invites us to experience a personal relationship with Him. That invitation is offered to every human on earth. Second, God wants each of us to use our abilities and opportunities to help others. These purposes are different for each of us.

As part of traditional Christianity, we understand that God created all people with the same intention: Each one should have a loving relationship with God that will last for eternity (John 3:16; 1 John 1:3). When we have such a relationship, God intends for us to become more loving, patient, and self-disciplined; in short, we are on a journey toward a God-shaped life (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 3:2).

In addition, God gives each person special abilities designed to help others. For example, some are able to teach others about God, some are able to help with physical needs, and some are especially effective in counseling or leadership (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

 

What do we believe about God?

As part of the Christian community, we understand that there is one God, who has always existed and will always exist (Deuteronomy 6:4). We believe that He is creative (Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:25-26) and holy (Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah5:16, 6:1-7) and that His purposes are carried out in this world (Jeremiah 29:11; Acts 1:6-7).

We also understand that God’s nature is “three-fold”: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians13:14). This concept of God’s three-fold nature, the Trinity, was understood by the early Christian Church as the best way to explain what they had experienced. They knew from their Jewish roots that there is only one God, but they also knew that Jesus acted as if He were God. In addition, the Holy Spirit, empowering the church as promised by Jesus and the Old Testament, seemed to have all of God’s power as well. Thus they understood that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are parts of the one God who has always existed.

 

Who is Jesus Christ?

The New Testament writings state that Jesus of Nazareth was born to a Jewish family during the early days of theRoman Empire. He was killed by the Roman occupation forces and truly rose from the dead. Then He joined God the Father in heaven.

While those of different faiths consider Him a great religious teacher, the followers of Jesus understood that He was more than just a teacher. He forgave sins (Mark 2:1-12; John 8:1-11); He spoke as if He had always existed (John8:58); and one of His followers addressed Him as God (John20:28). His death was more than a simple execution; His death makes it possible for humans to have a restored relationship with God (Colossians1:21-23). In His continued life with the Father, He still cares for us humans (1 John 2:1-2).

We agree with other Christians that Jesus is God. He is distinct from God the Father, known to the Jewish nation at the time of Moses (Deuteronomy1:31; Proverbs3:12). He is also distinct from the Holy Spirit, who has empowered Christians since the earliest days of the Church (Acts 2:4, 33). The Holy Spirit continues the work of Jesus through His followers today (John16:13-15).

While He is God, He is also human. Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary when the power of the Holy Spirit came upon her (Luke1:26-35). In Him, the nature of God and the nature of humanity are united in one Person (Colossians1:19-20).

 

What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?

Before Jesus died, He told His followers that He would leave them. He also promised that they would receive “another Counselor” who would be with them forever (John7:37-39,14:16). After His death and resurrection He told His followers that they would receive power through the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). He then left His followers (Acts 1:9).

Days later, Jesus’ followers did receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 18, 32-33). The Church immediately recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit as being equivalent to God’s presence (Acts 15:8-9; Ephesians 3:14-19; 1 John 3:24).

 

What does “salvation” mean?

Christians, use the term “salvation” to mean turning from wrong actions, receiving God’s forgiveness, committing ourselves to God, and living as God directs.

Salvation is from the word “save.” Jesus declared that He came to “save the lost” (Luke19:10). When a pagan Roman jailer wanted to become a Christian, he asked, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts16:30). When talking to a religious leader, Jesus said that God intended to “save the world” through His life (John3:17).

 

What are we saved from?

Some scriptures promise salvation from other people and their evil intentions (Psalm 18:3). More often, God’s Word promises salvation from the evil that is widespread throughout the world (Isaiah 45:22; Acts4:12). Many times in the scriptures God offers to save us when this world is destroyed (Joel 2:31-32; 1 Peter 4:18). However, the most common use of the word may be “saved from the punishment we deserve” (Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Timothy 2:4).

 

What is living a holy life?

When God’s transforming work is complete and God’s divine love that inhabits the Christian cleanses all sin from the heart (Romans 6:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

After we are born anew, we need the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts (Romans 8:6-8). When we make a complete commitment to Him, He cleanses our spirit, fills us with His perfect love, and gives us the power to live a holy life in obedience to Him (Romans 8:5, 9-11).

This is God’s will for all believers (1 Peter 1:15-16). Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, God enables believers to live a holy life and empowers them for life and service (Acts 1:8).

There is a distinction between a pure heart that is obtained in an instant through the infilling of the Holy Spirit and a mature character that is the result of growth in grace.

 

What is baptism?

Baptism has been a Christian symbol since the time of Jesus (Matthew 3:1-6). It involves applying water to Christians to symbolize their death to the old way of life (Romans 6:3-4) and their new life God provides (Galatians3:26-27). Baptism, a sacramental “means of grace,” seals one’s intention to follow God (Acts2:37-41,8:35-39,10:44-48). The Bible never defines how much water was applied or how; therefore, we consider immersion, sprinkling, and pouring all to be acceptable methods of baptism.

Baptism is a symbol of the new relationship God establishes with His people. Because of this, some choose to have their young children baptized as a symbol of their intention to raise their children in God’s Church and their hope to see that their children choose God’s ways when they are older.

 

What is the Lord’s Supper?

On the last night Jesus spent with His disciples, He shared bread and wine with them as part of the Passover meal (1 Corinthians11:23-26). This sharing of the bread and wine is known as Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper.

When Jesus shared the bread and wine with His disciples, the bread symbolized His body, and the wine symbolized His blood (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20). The disciples understood this to mean that He was giving up His life (body and blood) for their benefit. The earliest records of the Church show that His followers regularly shared bread and wine together, reminding themselves that Jesus had died for them (1 Corinthians 10:14-16) and will come again.

When we offer the Lord’s Supper today, all believers are invited to participate regardless of membership in the church. The Lord’s Supper is not appropriate for those who have not yet accepted the new life God offers (I Corinthians11:28-29).

 

How about official positions on social or political issues?

We understand that Christians are expected to oppose evil and promote good. In our complex world, we also understand that few issues are completely evil or completely good.

We express our opposition to underlying evils such as dishonesty (Leviticus19:11; Romans12:17), slander and vengeance (2 Corinthians12:20; Galatians5:15; Ephesians4:30-32; James 3:5-18; 1 Peter 3:9-10), and sexual immorality (Exodus20:14; Matthew 5:27-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

We also affirm our support for good actions, such as helping those in need (Matthew 25:35-36; 2 Corinthians 9:8-10; Galatians 2:10; James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17-18), being courteous and helpful (Romans 12:13; Galatians 6:2, 10; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12-14; Titus 3:2; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 John 3:18), and honoring God (Exodus 20:3-6; Deuteronomy 5:7-10, 6:4-5; Mark 12:28-31).

Rather than taking official stands, on most issues we encourage its members to apply God’s principles and act accordingly. All Christians are promised God’s guidance when we truly seek it (John16:13; 1 Corinthians2:16; James 1:5).

 

How does being a Christian affect people’s actions?

It is difficult to say that all the people in any group “always” or “never” act in certain ways. Within a church body, this is especially difficult, because God works with each believer a little differently. Some people have lived through extremely difficult circumstances, so we cannot say that everyone is always happy. Some people have naturally shy natures, so we cannot say that everyone should be outgoing in a crowd. However, those who have decided to follow God as best they can intend to be more like Christ tomorrow than they were yesterday.

We actively encourage each other to become more like Jesus. We donate time, money, and energy to causes that will show God’s love to the world (Matthew 25:31-40; Acts2:45). We tell others about the ways God has worked in our lives, giving Him credit for the positive changes that the Holy Spirit has made (Acts 1:8). We invite others to attend church services because we believe that God works through such gatherings to teach us more about himself (Acts 2:46; Hebrews 10:25). In short, we live our lives to show how God has made a difference (Matthew5:13-16; Philippians 4:4-5).

 

How does our understanding of God make a difference in our lives?

We understand that God intends to make us like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2). This means that we are to become Christlike (Leviticus 11:44; Matthew 5:48). After we have received our new spiritual lives (John 3:5-7), we experience the Holy Spirit teaching us how to live in a way that will please God (Galatians 5:22-23).  It’s not a one and done.  We actively seek to learn more about Him and His plans by reading the Bible, by gathering with other believers, and by spending time communicating with God in prayer.

 

Most importantly, How do I know Jesus?

 

1. Recognize that God loves you and has a plan for your life.

His love includes you.  “For 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” (John3:16).

He has new life for you.  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John10:10).

 

2. Recognize that sin separates you from God and others.

“Sin” is walking our own way in rebellion against God’s will. When we walk away from God, we walk away from life.

Everyone has sinned.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans3:23).

Sin brings death.  “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans6:23).

Our own efforts cannot save us.  As sinners we futilely try to find life’s true meaning in the wrong ways and places.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

3. Recognize that Jesus Christ died and rose again for our sins.

Jesus Christ died in our place.  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He is the way to new life.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

He gives inner peace.  “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

He gives freedom.  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John8:36).

He gives eternal life.  “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans6:23).

 

4. You must repent and ask God for forgiveness.

Admit and confess your sins to God.  “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Repentance means:

•  To acknowledge your sins.
•  To be sorry for your sins.
•  To confess your sins.
•  To be willing to forsake your sins.
•  To have your life changed by Christ.

Forgiveness is promised.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

5. Place your trust in Christ and receive Him as your Savior.

Christ is ready.  “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in” (Revelation3:20).

Receive him now.  “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John1:12).

 

Pray this prayer: 
Lord Jesus, I want to have life. I know that I have sinned. I need Your forgiveness and pardon. I believe that You died and rose again for my sins. I now accept You as my personal Savior. I will forsake my sinful life. I know that Your grace and power will enable me to live for You. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and for giving me a new life.

For help in living a meaningful life in Christ:

•  Be assured of Christ’s forgiveness.
•  Read your Bible and pray daily.
•  Find a concerned pastor and other Christians.
•  Become a vital part of that church.
•  Share your faith with others.