Exploring some important aspects of Christianity

This page will not tell you much about LifeSpring Church – the rest of the web site does that!  This page is written to help the reader understand some of the more important beliefs that Christians hold.

7 essential Christian Beliefs

Christians believe:

•    God is the creator of the world and everything in it.  Christians believe that God created all things, and that mankind was created in the image of God. 
•    The bible is the Word of God – and its principles, instructions and teachings are as relevant now as when they were written.
•    Jesus is the only way to God.  Jesus himself said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father (God) except through me’
•    Jesus was born of a virgin and lived a holy and blameless life.  The virgin birth helps us realise that although Jesus was born of a woman, He was not conceived naturally, but supernaturally by the Holy Spirit.  Mary was His mother, but God was His father.  And as a human being, He lived a life without sin, although the bible says He was tempted in the same way we are.
•    Jesus was crucified for us.  We deserved punishment for our ‘sins’, but Jesus, the holy Son of God, at the age of 33 died on our behalf – ‘the righteous for the unrighteous’.
•    Jesus rose again, overcoming death and now lives for evermore, giving all his followers assurance of eternal life.  How do we know Jesus’ death was acceptable to God?  Because after 3 days Jesus rose again!  His resurrection assures us of ours – death has been defeated.  And if we put our faith in Him, we will also rise, never to die again.
•    Jesus is coming back again to Earth, not as a baby but as a King and Judge.  This is the Christian’s hope – Jesus will one day come back and put to right the wrongs of this planet.  He will return as King and Judge.  All sin, death, and evil will be destroyed, and righteousness and peace will reign – and we will be with Him forever.

Who is Jesus?

The birth, life and death of Jesus are all recorded in the bible, as well as in Jewish history books.  Jesus was born around Year 0 (actual suggested dates range from 4BC to 6AD) in Bethlehem, Judea, but grew up in Nazareth where he was trained as a carpenter.  But He was much more than a Jewish carpenter!  Angels heralded His birth.  A star appeared over the place where He was born.  Wise men travelled from distant lands to worship Him.  And prophecy was fulfilled – Bethlehem was to be the birth place of the Christ; the very place Jesus was born in. There was something very different about Jesus!

Who is Jesus?  Well, Jesus is the Son of God.  He is also the Saviour of the World.  He came, He taught, and He died in our place; a ‘friend of sinners’, but hated by the religious leaders of the day, so they killed Him. When He died, the sky turned completely dark – in the middle of the day!  The earth shook, rocks split, and the Roman centurion responsible for his death exclaimed ‘surely he was the Son of God’.  He was right! Three days later He rose again – and was seen by over 500 different people before he ascended back to Heaven. 

What is the Gospel?

The word “Gospel” means good news; and millions of people around the world can testify that the Christian gospel is exactly that! 

In a nutshell, the good news is that we can have a personal friendship with our creator God through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. 

God’s standard is perfection - and we all fall short.  The bible tells us that all the wrong things we do, say, or even think, result in death and separation from God because He is holy.  But the only man who ever lived up to God’s perfect standard, His son Jesus Christ, took on Himself the punishment for all our wrongs.  He suffered a cruel and tortuous death in our place, so that no matter what our past, we can all be forgiven by God and our friendship with God can be restored.  Now that’s good news!  And not just for this life, but forever.

What is the Bible?

The Bible is the world’s best selling book of all time and every year it continues to hold its No 1 place. 

The Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, written by around 40 different authors covering a period of approximately 1600 years.   Christians believe that these books are all inspired by God and teach us about God’s love and his plans and purposes for mankind.

The authenticity of the bible has been supported time and time again by historical writings from both Christian and non-Christian sources. 

The Bible has been translated into over 2300 different languages and people from all cultures and backgrounds have found that reading the bible and putting its teaching into practice has transformed their lives.  As someone once put it, “For best results, follow the maker’s instructions!”.

So what about church?

Whenever ‘church’ is mentioned in the Bible, it never means a building or institution; it is only ever used to describe the people of God - Christians.  So in a literal sense, you can’t ‘go’ to church; you either are, or are not a member of the church, depending on your beliefs.  So ‘church’, in a biblical sense, is every Christian, in every denomination, in every continent, of all ages and sexes, who have died or who are still alive.  That’s quite a lot of people!

Christians gather as church – in ‘churches’, homes, schools, or any other place for a number of reasons, but primarily for corporate worship, prayer, and instruction from the bible.  Different churches will express these aspects in different ways, but that is part of the beauty of church – it is so diverse and varied.

The purpose of the church is to continue the work Jesus started including spreading the gospel, speaking out against injustice, helping the poor, serving the community and generally having a positive impact on society as a whole. 

In Western Europe the church is in decline.  But the church across the world is actually growing at an unprecedented rate.  There are more Christians alive today than ever before, and the percentage of those claiming to be Christians is also higher than ever before, making it by far the biggest ‘religion’ in the world today.

What is a Christian?

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, nor does being born in a Christian home.  Being christened as a baby doesn’t either, nor does confirmation or even baptism.  So what is a Christian?   A Christian is someone who knows they have fallen short of God’s standards and has said sorry to God for all their wrongdoings, who believes that  through Jesus’ sacrificial death on a Roman cross friendship with God can be restored, and who has decided to live their life to please God. 

How can I become a Christian?

To become a Christian firstly you need to ADMIT that you are a sinner and need a Saviour.  You need to realise that all your good deeds will never be good enough for God, because God is perfect – and you’re not!  Secondly, you need to BELIEVE that through his death, Jesus can save you.  Although He was perfect, He died in our place. An exchange took place – He took our guilt and ‘sin’ on Himself – and paid the price, so that we might have His purity and holiness and be made acceptable to God.  Thirdly, you need to CONFESS that Jesus is your Lord and Saviour.  The bible says ‘if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths, we will be saved.’  If you understand these 3 steps you can become a Christian today  by praying the prayer at the end of this section; and then to help establish your new found faith, why not go and tell someone else you’ve become a Christian – and send us an email; we would love to hear from you too!

A prayer for salvation

Lord Jesus Christ,

I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life (take a few moments to ask for his forgiveness for anything particular that is on your conscience).  Please forgive me.  I now turn from everything which I know is wrong and choose to follow you.

Thank you for dying on a cross so that I could be forgiven and receive eternal life.

Thank you that you offer me forgiveness and the gift of your Spirit.

Please come into my life by your Holy Spirit to be with me forever.

Thank you Lord Jesus.  Amen

What next?

If you have worked through the ABC of becoming a Christian and have asked Jesus to forgive you and come into your life by praying the prayer above, that really is wonderful.  Do tell us and we would like to give you a free gift of a bible and some information about LifeSpring Church, but this is only the beginning!  There is so much more to experience, to learn about, and to enjoy in the Christian life.  If you live in Reading we would like to help you, and that’s where church comes in.  Please see our home page for details of our weekly meeting at The Pavilion. If you live outside Reading, please do contact us and we will try to suggest a suitable church in your locality.

If you have any more questions about the Christian faith or LifeSpring Church, please email us at admin@lifespringchurch.org.uk.  We will do our best to help.