INGREDIENTS OF CHRISTIANITY
If a man from another country who had little knowledge about Christianity asked you tell him about your religion how would you respond? In this lesson, I am going to give you basic overview of key ingredients of Christianity that sum up the substance of our faith.
First, I would say that we have a Supreme Being to worship. He is the God who created the universe:
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen. 1:1).
While man has created a multitude of gods in the image of birds, beasts, creeping things and other images, our God was not created by man and He is a living God. As Paul said:
1 Thessalonians 1:8 Ö Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.† 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,† 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
We do not bow our knee or worship idols made of wood or other material, we bow our knee to our Father in heaven. Our God is the giver and sustainer of life and we are His offspring:
Acts 17:29 †"Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising.
As verse 28 says:
Acts 17:28 "for in Him we live and move and have our beingÖ
Our God loves us and wants all of us to have salvation, but we must choose it by our own free will. Our God is close to us and understands us. He wants to share His home in heaven with those who love Him. John describes this in:
Revelation 21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.† 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.† 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.† 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
Second, I would say that we have a Savior who rescued us from the snare of sin. We have the privilege to obey and serve Him. He came down from heaven on a mission of mercy to rescue us from our sins.
Luke 19:10 "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
He was the divine Word that voluntarily came down from heaven to become one of us so that we could become rich by making it possible for us have heaven as our home.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Paul also says:
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, †6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,† 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.† 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.† 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,† 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,† 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus invites us to take up our cross and follow after him (Mt. 16:24). Not only did Jesus become like us, he died for us. He was then raised from the dead and has ascended by back to heaven where He is not sitting at the right of the Father as taught in Acts 1 and 2. Jesus is our friend (John 15:14), our mentor and example (I Pet. 2:21). Like His Father, He is part of the Godhead as Paul said:
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,† 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,† 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,We worship Him as our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:13).
Since we love Him, we keep Him commandments (John 14:15).
Third, I would say that we belong to the family of God. We became children of God when obeyed Godís plan of salvation, which includes believing in Jesusí death, burial, and resurrection, repenting, confessing Jesus as Lord and being baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. Just as we read in:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.† 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
1 Timothy 3:15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
We were added to the house of God or we could say church by God Himself as:
Acts 2:47 And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Being part of the family of God gives us all the privileges of our Fatherís house including the assurance of salvation because it is the house of God/church that Jesus is the savior of:
Ephesians 5:23 †Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Fourth, I would say that we have a divine standard by which we live our lives and know how to worship our God. That divine standard is Godís Word. It contains the pattern of sound doctrine ( 2 Tim. 1:13). It provides us with everything we need to know about being pleasing to God and how to live our lives in righteous way (2 Tim. 3:16-17: 2 Pet. 1:3). We are to obey all that Jesus has commanded because He has been given all authority:
Matthew 28:18 †And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.† 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,† 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.†
We know that we be judged by divine pattern in the NT.
John 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
Since we have a divine pattern to follow, we know exactly how we can approach God and do not have to rely on man. We understand that God expects us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
God tells us to:
James 4:8 †Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
From Godís Word we know that ONLY way to have access to the Father is through Jesus:
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Godís Word also gives us the assurance that God hears our prayers (Heb. 4:16) and that we can know that we are saved (1 John 5:13). We can also know that the faithful will have a home in heaven:
John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.† 2 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.† 3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Fifth, I would say that we have a mission to accomplish. Jesus has commissioned every disciple to go and preach the gospel as stated in:
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.† 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Our mission is also stated in:
Ephesians 4:14 Ö we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,† 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ --† 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This means that we are to learn as much as we can about God from His Word and be doers of it and encourage and exhort others to do the same. It is our duty to watch out for false doctrine and keep the body of Christ pure by not adding to or taking away from His Word. We are to remember the poor (Gal. 2:10), help the weak (Rom. 15:1) and oppose evil (Eph. 4:12). Paul adds this thought:
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.† 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,† 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,† 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
We understand that we† are to continue to grow in the knowledge and the grace of our Lord and continue transforming ourselves to be more like Christ and to encourage other to do the same.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.† 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The sixth thing I would say is that we have a battle to fight. Paul calls it the god fight of faith †(I Tim. 6:12). It is not a carnal war with material weapons. Rather it is a spiritual war against every kind of wickedness:
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.† 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.† 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
We must continually test ourselves to see if we are in the faith and we must continually battle against sinful conduct and teaching that is contrary to the Word of God. We are called to be good soldiers of Christ:
2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Finally, I would say that we have a reward to receive from our God. That reward is eternal life in heaven.
John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.† 28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
We know without doubt that if we remain faithful to God that we will receive the crown of righteousness:
Revelation 2:10 "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Paul describes it this way:
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.† 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.† 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.† 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
When we run our race of faith, we can know that we will have our reward in heaven just as Paul expressed at the end of his life:
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.† 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
When Jesus comes again we can know that He will raise us from the dead and that we will be with forever in heaven:
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.† 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.† 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The seven ingredients have mentioned in this lesson are just the basics about Christianity because no one could explore the depths of Christianity in one lesson. However, these 7 ingredients would give anyone that did know much about Christianity a greater understand of what Christianity is all about and what is based on. I hope you share what you have learned with others and that in some way has reminded you of why you are Christian, what Godís expects from you, and the assurance you have of a home in heaven when remain faithful to God.††††
Adapted from John Waddeyís article on Ingredients of Christianity