Modern life doesn’t encourage us to ask the big questions about our lives. Our minds can be as crowded as a busy street, so full of short term concerns that there is no space for us to reflect on why we exist. Occasionally the noise and bustle of today’s world grows quiet enough for us to hear ourselves think.
What is true and real in life? What will happen to me when I die? Does my life have a purpose? Do I have any hope?
These questions are sometimes criticised as “religious” by those who consider religion to be the blind acceptance of a belief system. But of course, it’s not only religious people who can fall into the trap of unthinkingly accepting a world view. It’s a risk we all face. The only solution is to find the mental space to ask ourselves:
“for what is my life?”
Christians say that we can’t work the answers out for ourselves. Unless they are revealed to us, we will be left in the dark. How has this truth about life been revealed to us? God has done it through his Son, Jesus Christ, according to the Bible.
“I am the light of the world.”
Jesus once said,
“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Many people believe Jesus’ claim, many do not. So it’s up to each of us to investigate the matter for ourselves. Faith in Christ is not an irrational leap in the dark. Faith begins by reading the Bible so that we can examine the claims of Christ for ourselves.
The Bible defines a Christian as someone who has God’s life within them. It says that everyone can become spiritually alive, allowing us to know God personally in our daily lives. The Bible asserts that human beings were created for the purpose of sharing their lives with God, and the reason we have lost our sense of purpose is because we have lost the ability to know God in our lives. Now whatever we think of this extraordinary concept, it’s clear that it doesn’t describe our natural state: we aren’t born with that sort of life within us.
So the idea that people can become Christians by adhering to some sort of religious system doesn’t hold water. If Christianity was just a set of rules which told us how we should behave, or if Jesus Christ merely lived and died to provide us with an example of how to live, then Christianity would be just another religious system. But there is something much more profound going on here. We need to look more closely at Jesus’ life and death, and investigate what they mean for us today.
At the heart of Christianity is the assertion that God entered His own universe as a man. The Bible declares Jesus to be God the Son and that God made this astonishing move so that he could bring about our salvation.
What does it mean for someone to be “saved”? Well, first of all the Bible isn’t talking about some shallow psychological fix. It offers a remedy that tackles our deepest needs: real forgiveness, peace with God, and healing from the damage caused by sin in our lives: a salvation that holds out the offer of sharing God’s life, now and forever.
The question of our individual wrongdoing is at the core of God’s plan to save us. The Bible says that God loves us, but that He can’t ignore our sin, because that would be an unjust thing to do. We live in a moral universe, where our every sin incurs a moral debt. It is our sin which has separated us from God. It is this core issue which has to be addressed.
The story of the Cross is the story of how the debt was paid, so that God’s justice and love could be reconciled. On the Cross, we see God in Christ taking our punishment on Himself, as our substitute. Our moral debt was paid by the Divine Judge. The death of Christ at Calvary was a personal act of love and loyalty performed by God for each one of us.
The Bible describes how God raised Jesus from the dead, opening up the way for men and women to receive the gift of eternal life. So Christians don’t follow the example of a dead leader. They have an intimate relationship with a living person.
Christianity provides answers to life’s deepest questions. But it begins by asking us another question, one that unlocks the answer to the truth about life:
“What is my relationship with Jesus Christ?”
Perhaps you would have to admit that there is no relationship. You’re like a branch that is disconnected from the tree. Or maybe your relationship with God is a distant, fruitless memory of a time when you did enjoy fellowship with Him. Or perhaps you do have God’s life within you, and you want your faith to develop, and your relationship with God to grow. Whatever state you are in, we would love to be of any help we can.
Here at Crescent Church, we seek to understand and live by the Bible, to give everyone the opportunity to become mature and devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We live in a world full of confused religious ideas and beliefs and so the following points define the core beliefs and practices of the church.
- The Bible, as originally given, is the verbally inspired by God. Through it God speaks to us and every word is infallible. It is our only authority for what we believe and practice.
- There is only one God, revealed in the Bible as three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are One God, co-eternal and co-equal.
- The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became man, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He is perfect and eternal God, and perfect sinless man.
- God created man, male and female, in his image and likeness. Because man sinned, universal sinfulness and guilt renders everyone subject to God’s righteous wrath and condemnation.
- The death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross was on behalf of sinners and a sacrifice to God and a propitiation for remission of sin. Through the sacrificial death there is redemption from the guilt, penalty and power of sin. He is the only mediator between God and man.
- On the third day after His crucifixion, the Lord Jesus Christ was raised in His physical body from the death. He was seen alive by his disciples during the forty days after His resurrection and in His rising glorified body.
- He ascended into heaven to the right hand of God the Father and is now the all-sufficient High priest of His people.
- The Lord Jesus Christ will personally return to raise the dead in Christ and they together with living believers will meet Him and reign with Him.
- Salvation is not by works but through repentance for sins and faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God alone. By an act of God’s undeserved mercy, the believing sinner is forgiven all his sins, is justified before God and accepted as righteous in His sight.
- At death the spirit of man does not cease to exist or become unconscious. The dead will be raised either to eternal life or eternal separation from God
- There will be final judgment for those who have not been saved and whose names are not found in the Book of Life.
- The Holy Spirit convinces individuals of their sin and leads them to faith in Jesus Christ and makes them alive in Christ. He indwells every Christian, producing in them increasing likeness to Christ in character and behaviour, empowers them to witness in the world.
- There is one Universal Church, the body of Christ. Into the body of which the Lord Jesus Christ is head, all Christians have ben baptised in the Holy Spirit.
- In the New Testament, a local church consisted of Christians in a given locality, but now there is a practically no complete expression of this principle. Nevertheless, in accordance with the teaching of the New Testament, Christians may meet together and function as an independent, self governing church, recognizing the authority of God’s Word, the Lordship of Christ and the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit. It will give expression to the teaching of the New Testament in its worship, doctrine and service.