This week Pastor Chris continued in our Healthy Church series, seeking to Biblically define what it means to be a Christian. There are many ways an individual can respond to the Gospel: they can reject it, simply know about it, or they can open their heart to receive and commit to it. Chris exhorted us to stand in the Gospel, even when the forces of the enemy rage against us. He shared about the wide road that leads to destruction and the narrow road that leads to eternal life. Taking the narrow road means that we leave everything aside, including our terms of what we think the Christian life is, and choose to follow, surrender to, and live for Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 (ESV)
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
• The Narrow Gate ~ by faith, only through Christ, narrow and precise.
• The Wide Gate ~ works and self-righteousness, with no single way that leads to hell, not heaven.
- Knowledge (Facts)
- Agreement (Assent)
- Commitment (Will)
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (ESV)
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
The Gospel Truth
- Died: Execution of Jesus
- Buried: Bore the penalty of our sin
- Raised: Empty Tomb
Matthew 16:21 (ESV)
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
What Separates Christianity from Other Religions
• Every other religion teaches us to earn our way to God.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
• Other religions have systems of rules to appease their god. Christianity is a relationship with God.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”
• No other religion has an empty tomb.
Matthew 28:6 (ESV)
6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
- Appeared: Eyewitness experiences
- Gospel Fruit: Explosion of the early church
The Character of Genuine Saving Faith
2 Corinthians 13:5
1. EVIDENCE THAT NEITHER PROVE NOR DISPROVE ONE’S FAITH
|A Visible morality||Matthew 19:16-21; 23:27|
|Intellectual knowledge||Romans 1:21; 2:17ff|
|Religious Involvement||Matthew 25:1-10|
|Active Ministry||Matthew 7:21-24|
|Conviction of Sin||Acts 24:25|
|Time of Decision||Luke 8:13,14|
2. THE FRUIT / PROOFS OF AUTHENTIC/TRUE CHRISTIANITY
|Love of God||Ps. 42:1ff; 73:25; Luke 10:27; Rom. 8:7|
|Repentance from Sin||Ps. 32:5; Prov. 28:13; Rom. 7:14ff; 2 Cor. 7:10|
|Genuine Humility||Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:1-12; James 4:6,9ff|
|Devotion to God’s Glory||Ps. 105:3; 115:1; Is. 43:7; 48:10ff; Jer. 9:23,24|
|Continual Prayer||Luke 18:1; Eph. 6:18ff; Phil 4:6ff; 1 Tim. 2:1-4|
|Selfless Love||1 John 2:9ff; 3:14; 4:7ff|
|Separation from the World||1 Cor. 2:12; James 4:4ff; 1 John 2:15-17, 5:5|
|Spiritual Growth||Luke 8:15; John 15:1-6; Eph. 4:12-16|
|Obedient Living||Matt. 7:21; John 15:14ff; Rom. 16:26|
1 Corinthians 15:9–11 (ESV)
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
- What does it mean to be a Christian? Is your definition the same as what the Bible says?
- What are the three necessary pieces of Biblical salvation? What happens if you only have one or two of the pieces?
- What are the narrow and the wide gates (or roads) described in Matthew 7:13-14? Which road are you currently walking down?
- What did Pastor Chris share separates Christianity from other religions?
- Have you ever or are you currently trying to earn God’s affection or your salvation? What do you believe is the root cause of your striving to do this?
- What does it mean to accept Jesus as your Savior and your Lord? Is Jesus currently the Lord of your life?
- How would you define the Gospel to someone who doesn’t know or believe in Jesus? This week, practice how you would share the Gospel with a non-believer.
- Have you accepted Christ as your savior (that He paid the penalty for your sin so that you could be in relationship with Him)? Is Jesus also your Lord (the boss of your life, you are committed to following how He tells you to live)? If you haven’t done either of these and you want to, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reach out to you directly to pray with you!