I wanted to share a summary of the Christian faith with you. This is meant to be a starting point for a discipleship program I have been developing to help people learn how to think clearly and correctly about what the Bible says and does not say.
This is the Message of Christianity.
I. What is human nature like?
(1) We were made in the image of God.
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)
(2) Human nature has been corrupted by what God considers to be evil.
“God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 53:2-3 ESV)
II. What has God done to fix the flaws that now exist in human nature?
(1) God became a man named Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14 ESV)
(2) God, as a man, had every opportunity to be disobedient like us, but He never crossed that line.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV)
(3) God, as an innocent man, died in our place so that we could go free.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
(4) God, as an innocent man, proved that we could be free from our disobedience and its death penalty by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-8 ESV)
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3 ESV)
III. What changes in human nature when a person hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believes it is true?
(1) When a person hears the Gospel and believes it is true that person is changed into a new person.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
(2) Those who hear and believe the Gospel are changed.
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24 ESV)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:19-23 ESV)
Has your life been changed?