A Straightforward Introduction to Christianity*
1. You Matter Much More Than You Know.
What makes a person significant?
- Some people think that the people who really matter are those with beauty, wealth, success or fame.
- Others think that it’s being creative or interesting that makes a person significant.
- Still others hope to find significance in romantic relationships or through improving the world.
But the Bible says you already matter. God created us humans “in his image”—to be living symbols of him here on earth. Humans are like ambassadors or representatives of God. We have a job (to care for the world on God’s behalf) and we have great dignity. Whoever attacks or insults a human attacks God.
This means all of us are equally valuable whether we’re rich or poor, fat, skinny, clever or dull. We matter to God. We matter to the world.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them,human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made,putting all things under their authority. (Psalm 8:3-6)
2. Your Actions Really Matter.
Most of us don’t like being told how to live—especially by God. We don’t see why he should care. We want the freedom to do whatever we want. But our actions matter because God created us for an important purpose. We’re supposed to be key players in a big plan that involves the whole of creation.
- When we don’t treat other people with respect we betray our mission.
- When we don’t care for the world, then we keep ourselves from taking part in God’s plans.
- When we ignore or disobey God we undermine our very reason for existing, because he created us to be his representatives.
All of us fail in these areas—and it’s very serious. Maybe if God hadn’t given us such an important place in his world it might not matter how we lived. But he did. And it does. We humans are a bit like judges who make up their own laws, or traitorous ambassadors who ignore the government that sent them.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23)
But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. (Luke 12:48)
3. You ARE IN GREAT peril.
What will happen to us if we keep going this way? The same thing that would happen to any traitorous ambassador or governor: judgment and removal from office. The Bible describes this in a number of ways, but mostly just calls it “death.” Death means losing your relationship with God. It means losing your place in his world.We can already sense the first signs of this death.
- It’s the cause of our insecurities and dissatisfaction.
- It’s the real reason why we find ourselves working so desperately to find significance.
But nothing can replace God. He’s the source of our life and dignity and every good thing we have. Losing God completely would be hell. The Bible says that we all live on borrowed time—under the shadow of our rebellion and its consequences.
Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God … Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. (Romans 14:10,12)
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)
4. You Can Have A Fresh Start With Jesus.
We humans have all failed to represent God properly. But God has made a way for us to have a fresh start. That way comes through Jesus Christ—the only really faithful human there ever was.
- Jesus is like the responsible older brother who speaks up for you when you get into trouble with mum or dad.
- He’s like the best friend who pays the fine to get you out of jail.
- Jesus is like the hero who takes the bullet for you.
When Jesus died on the cross he took responsibility for us and all our failures. In return for his sacrifice and faithfulness, God honoured Jesus by raising him from the dead and gave him responsibility for everything. The Bible describes Jesus as the first member of a new humanity—the leader of a new tribe that will fulfil God’s plans for the world.
[Jesus said] “those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins. (John 5:24)
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
5. You Need To Join Jesus and His Tribe.
You need to join up with Jesus to receive this new life and to share in his victory. That means accepting Jesus as your Chief. It means joining his tribe – the church. When Jesus’s people get together to read the Bible, to praise and serve God together, then things start to happen.
- God begins to change them so that they gradually become more like Jesus.
- The love of Jesus begins to influence them, giving them a new concern for each other and the world.
- Each person discovers that they have been given gifts to serve the group.
Jesus’ tribe, the church, has many faults. But even so, it is connected to the most powerful force for good in the Universe: the Spirit of God shining out through Jesus Christ. The church, despite its failures continues to grow and change lives all around the world.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (Romans 8:1-2)
How To Start A New Life With God Through Jesus…
Do you want this new life with God that Jesus has made possible? If so, here’s a good prayer to get you started:
Dear God, Thankyou for creating me and giving me an important place in your world. I’m sorry for the times I’ve failed to live out the calling you’ve given me; for the times I’ve acted badly and ignored you. Thank you for Jesus. Thankyou that he took responsibility for us and our failures. I want to have a new life with him. Please help me to live for you with Jesus as my Chief. Please help me to find my place amongst his people. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and meant it then you’ve been completely forgiven and given a new start. As Jesus said:
“I assure you, anyone who hears what I say and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life. They will not be judged guilty. They have already left death and have entered into life.” (John 5:24)
To help you live this new life you’ll need to join a church community (tribe). To do this you might have a look at some of the churches in our Australian Church Directory. Or you can contact us directly and we’d be happy to help.
* First published by The Bible Society Australia, Printed copies of this booklet are available at here.
Photo: Matt Artz, unsplash.com