Christianity And The Church

God’s plan was to send His Son to be a sacrifice in order to undo what the Devil had done to each of us.  What Adam lost, when he sinned and what we inherited could be regained by accepting Christ’s death and resurrection and through His sacrifice we could be redeemed and reconciled with God.  Without faith in Christ and God’s grace we would remain forever separated from God.

God had a plan and purpose for each one of us.  We believe God wanted humans to be gifted with a spirit that could fellowship with Him Who is a Spirit.  With His Spirit dwelling in us we could defeat the Devil and we would no longer do evil.  Once we made a commitment to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior we could then receive His Spirit and He could live within us.  The result of what Christ had done for us our sins could be forgiven and we would become free of guilt, (The great suppressor).  Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection was done to deal with our sins, our flesh and our self-centered nature.  Once we received God’s Spirit we could become a new person, with a new nature as God had intended for Adam before his fall.

Christ taught in parables.  We plant a seed and it dies and comes to life.  From that one seed many grains rise up.  Christ died and came to life and many have come from Him.  You don’t plant a grain of wheat and get broccoli.  Salvation is dieing with Christ and rising to become a new person in His likeness.  Seeds do not grow without water and fertilizer.  We do not become like Christ without the Holy Spirit, Bible study and prayer.  Like a seed, it takes time to become ripe and mature.  The same applies to Christianity.  To explain it, Christ gave a parable.  Matthew 13:19 – 23 – “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”  Our struggles are a result of where we were planted, how we were watered and the amount of fertilizer used.

Scripture makes it very clear that God wants a man after His own heart.  Genesis tells us that Adam was created with a soul and a spirit that could communicate with God.  He was able to live in the spiritual world and with a body he could live in the physical world.  These two natures gave him his personality and temperament.  He was created perfect without any imperfections.  But God had to let him make a choice between good and evil.  When he chose to listen to Satan rather than God the Spirit that was in him was withdrawn.  Therefore, instead of living by the Spirit he chose to live by the soul or the physical desires of the flesh.  Every person today is given that same choice.  Who will we select from, for our life’s purpose and direction, is it God or Satan, the great deceiver?

I heard an illustration of a man driving his car.  Beside him was his wife who continually tells him how to drive.  But he says, it is my car and I will drive any way I want and go anyplace I want to go.  When his son reaches the age to learn to drive, he reluctantly sits in the passenger seats but tells his son how to drive and where he wants to grow.  He is still partially in control.

He accepts Christ as His Savor and realizes that His life must become different.  Should he treat Christ as a chauffeur telling Him where he wants go, when and how to get there?  Scripture says we must allow our old nature that wants to control, to die out and be replaced.  We must become a new person that can accept the role of being the passenger in life’s voyage.  As the passenger we must not try to be a back-seat-driver. We must place complete confidence that Christ, the Holy Spirit, knows where He is taking us and we must have the faith to accept where He takes us will be to the best place and how we get there will be the best way.   It is so difficult to give up control if we have been in the driver’s seat for a long time, but we must.

Even though our sins had been forgiven, when we died with Christ, we are helpless on our own if we don’t rely on the help of the Holy Spirit.  When we become one with Christ, we become a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God so that we can serve Him.  As we worship and live for God our faith and wisdom increase as our commitment and obedience to God’s Will is fulfilled.  We can never achieve God’s purpose for ourselves without God’s Spirit living in us and directing our behavior and decisions.  We are told to walk in His Spirit and we will acquire the “mind of Christ”.  No matter how holy one may become, we cannot do His purpose without doing it through His body, the church.

Man was created with a need for relationships.  Not only did God want a relationship with us he knew we needed relationships with others.  God instituted the church with Christ as the head.  He wanted that church to not have a spot or wrinkle that would be holy and without blemish.  The church was not to be a group of saved sinners; it was to be a divine creation teaching the gospel of Christ and God’s Will for man.  It was also to be a ministry allowing Christians to serve others through Christ’s and the Holy Spirit’s direction.  The church was to fulfill many needs.  But a battle rages with angels and principalities and powers determined to bring down the work of the church.  Dissention, disagreements, sin and individualism permeate the body.  However, there are enough dedicated Christians that can present a front against the gates of hell and the church will still prevail.  With God’s help it will withstand the onslaught.   You need the church and the church needs you.   But always remember, you must be just a passenger in building the church or one’s carnal nature can help bring it down.

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