Knowing Christ and making Christ known
As Christians we try to live in a relationship with God. It may seem difficult to have a relationship with a being that you can’t see or hear in the way that we see and hear people, but we believe that God has revealed himself to us in different ways through history and still reveals himself to us today and so we respond to God as he makes himself known to us.
There are many theories and possible explanations of how the world and all life came into existence. Even Christians have a variety of views on exactly what happened, but we agree that it happened through the power of God. We agree that humanity has a special place in the universe, (the Bible describes people as uniquely made in the image of God). We agree that one of the roles for humanity is to care for the rest of creation.
We also believe that, ‘Through everything God made, people can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God’ (Romans 1:20). The universe points to a creator who made it, loves it perfectly and calls people into a relationship with him.
The Bible is a library of 66 books which detail some parts of God’s interaction with this world. In the Bible you can find the story of God calling Abraham to leave his home, with many different gods, and to follow the one true God; the story of Abraham’s family through Isaac, Israel and Joseph; the story of Moses calling God’s people out of slavery in Egypt to a new life of freedom in a new home. The story continues to follow this nation as they sometimes follow God and often get it wrong under a variety of different leaders. Alongside this historical account there are poems, laws, records of what God was saying to them, and a selection of wise sayings.
All through the Bible there are hints and promises of someone coming who will restore the people again into a relationship with God. After telling the story of that man, Jesus, the Bible continues to tell the story of the early church and includes a set of letters written by some of the church leaders to help with problems being faced in churches around the world.
As Christians we believe the Bible to be a collection of books inspired by God and, while not always easy to understand, reliable as a guide to living and also detailing how we might have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
One book in the Bible starts with the words ‘Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son’ (Hebrews 1:1-2). As Christians we believe that the man, Jesus of Nazareth, who lived in first century Palestine, was not only a human being who told people about God and showed them what a relationship with God could be like, he was also God himself. This is a bold claim but is one that Jesus himself made, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). It is a claim that we believe is backed up by Jesus’ life, his teaching, his fulfillment of the promises about the one who would come to save his people and through his death and resurrection.
A number of non-Christian historians, writing in the years after Jesus, record that he was crucified by order of the governor Pontius Pilate. As Christians we believe that everyone has done things to reject God, either by living in a different way to his best for us or by a conscious rejection of him. The Bible calls this sin and describes how sin must be punished. The appropriate punishment is death. In the death of this God/man, Jesus, God was able to take that punishment onto himself. He satisfied his justice in that the penalty was paid but also satisfied his love by rescuing us from having to bear it ourselves. God's forgiveness and a relationship with God are now available to anyone who is willing to make Jesus Christ their Lord. The Bible goes on to describe how Father God (who did not die), through the Holy Spirit, raised Jesus (who did die) to a new life and through this showed that Jesus was who he had claimed to be.
A month or so after Jesus’ Easter resurrection, the Bible describes Jesus going to be with his Father in heaven where he remains alive and praying for his creation. However there are also promises that Jesus will return one day. When he returns, everyone who has ever lived will come and be judged by God as to whether or not they have turned from sin and followed Jesus Christ as Lord. Those that have will enter eternal life while those that haven’t will face eternal death.
To explore whether following Jesus Christ might be for you we would love you to join us on an Alpha course.
As Christians we don’t believe that God stopped speaking and revealing himself once Jesus had gone to heaven and the Bible was completed. The Bible tells us that in the Old Testament (before Jesus was born) God filled certain individuals with his Holy Spirit to enable them to fulfil certain roles. By this we mean that God, who is not only Father and Son but also Holy Spirit, came and lived within that person.
Since the time of Jesus the same Holy Spirit comes and lives within every Christian as a counsellor, encourager and support. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to ‘teach you everything and remind you of everything Jesus has told you’ (John 14:26). God continues to reveal himself through the Holy Spirit today in prophecy and through his presence within the church as the group of believers filled with the Holy Spirit. Morden Park Baptist Church is one local expression of the church around the world. We look forward to meeting with you and growing in our relationship with God together.
If you would like to explore Christianity further then please either follow this link to the Christian Enquiry Agency website, where you may be able to find further answers to your questions, or come along to Morden Park Baptist Church and join with us as we try to follow Jesus.