Monday, October 29, 2007

Simple Christianity... Sunday's message

I don’t know why we preachers and Bible teachers like to throw around big, twenty dollar religious words like “propitiation,” soteriology,” and, my favorite… “dispensational eschatology.” Maybe we like people to think that we’re smarter than we really are? Maybe we want people to think that our education was at least as tough as theirs? Who knows? For whatever reason, I fear that many of us have created a system of religion that is far more complicated than God ever intended for “the faith” to be. I just finished preaching a series on the Bible itself, “Word of God Speak” and I have observed that it isn’t nearly as complex or complicated as some of us have made it. Oh, its deep to be sure! Its riches are endless and the depth of knowledge unfathomable… but the plain and simple gospel isn’t all that complex, is it? God’s intention for mankind is remarkably simple. God’s plan of salvation is remarkably simple. I wonder if I have contributed to mudding the waters with “learned opinions” or if I have concocted a more elaborate religious system than God ever intended.

This Sunday I will be starting a new “mini-series” of lessons around this very premise… the simplicity of the gospel. We’ll look at the following questions and I solicit your input.

“What is a Christian?”

“Why would I want to be a Christian?”

“How do I become a Christian?”

“What do I do now that I am a Christian?”

I invite you to post your thoughts, comments, suggestions and questions through the comments section. Enter into this discussion with us. I look forward to hearing from you.

First off.... what is a Christian? How would YOU define Christianity? Any thoughts?


Jear Howes said...

I think a basic definition of a Christian is anyone who believes what is in Roman 3:23-24 to be true.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith

glmoffett said...

Beleive that Jesus is the son of the living God and he paid our sin
debt on the cross at Calvary and gives us hope of eternal life in heaven with him and the Father. Our
Born Again life should be an example of our belief and our relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

corey4671 said...

doesn't matter what I "think" a Christian is. The Bible says I must believe that Jesus is the Son of God John 3:16, Romans 10:!4
I must confess that belief Matthew 16:15-16, 1 Peter 3:15
I must make a change in my heart and be sorry for the wrong I have done in my life Matthew 3:8, LUke 13:3, Acts 3:19 and Acts 17:30
be baptized For thr remission of sins: Matthew 28:18, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16
and finally I must remain faithful unto death James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10

corey4671 said...

to further elaborate, what do I do now that I am a Christian? First off, I try to imitate what the early church did, not what some man or denomination says: Colossians 2:8, TItus 1:14, Matthew 15:9
I am afraid today we look at the church as a business and we feel the need to advertise to what the masses WANT instead of what they need. The apostle Paul warned the young evangelist Timothy that this would happen 2 Timothy 4:2-4. The apostle Peter also warned of this 2 Peter 2:1-3. We Tolerate sin today for we fear that if do not tolerate people wil leave and with them their money and with the money the funding for our large biuildings and social ministries.THe first century church didn't tolerate sin (Acts 8:14-24)and when they did they were rebuked for it 1 Corinthians 5:1-8.

afgraham said...

My time here at Oxford makes me wish for some simple Christiany, but I quickly realize how much it is not. Let's think about some of our basic concepts.
1)The idea of an omnipotent God becoming a finite human blows the mind to new boundaries.
2)At the end of time, all of the dead will rise to a new life or eternal destruction confident in the wisdom of God. Amen
3)By the death of one man, all the rest of humanity has the power to lead guiltless lives.
By all means, our minds should not be able to comprehend and indeed, we cannot. These are questions many live their lives trying to explain (in a valiant way, I might add). Yet, I do not want to sound faithless. One thing ranks higher above all others. Faith in the wisdom of God that is the foolishness of humanity. Faith in a God wise enough to extend to his fallen creation a second chance back into his presence. Faith in a God who sent his son (one of the same essence of the father) to become human to acheive all the other goals like resurrection and transformed lives. A Christian is one who is justified by faith, regenerated in baptism, living in radical discipleship the Kingdom life.

George said...

A Christian? Simple! Anyone who loves and follows the Master, Jesus Christ.

Christianity is not a system or rules, a religion, or a set of laws for living.

It is a relationship with the God of the Universe through His Son, Jesus. The only relationship we really need and the one relationship that we are made to crave.

Through it we find life as God intended - abundant and full.

Jim Black said...

All excellent comments... I especially offer a hearty AMEN to George! "Christianity" has come to mean so many different things to so many different people that I am afraid the message of Jesus gets lost in the confusion. Christianity is the way of Jesus. Now, to say all of that in a 20 (okay, 30) minute sermon... not so simple. Thanks!

Welcome to Jim's blog!

Thanks for visiting my blog... I hope you'll find it helpful, perhaps insightful or at least a little humorous. I hope to do several things through this blog... share pictures, thoughts, and funny stories... but also to converse back and forth about what we are reading in God's Word together. In preparing for Sunday's message each week, I am interested in hearing from you... what do YOU think about Sunday's text? What are your questions? Suggestions? Just click on the COMMENTS section and let's talk. I'll do my best to give you a "heads up" on upcoming lessons and I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance!