Christianity-What Is It?

Cross of Christ

Christianity is based on God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible, which is the Word of God. A Christian is one who believes the Bible and lives the teachings of Jesus Christ. This way of life brings peace and contentment here on this earth and prepares us for a home in heaven.

God the Father

The Bible teaches that there is only one God who has always been and always will be. God knows all things and His wisdom and knowledge are unlimited. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” He is present everywhere and can give full attention to everyone in the whole world at the same time. We can pray to God from any place and at any time. He hears our prayers and will answer as He sees best. There is only one God and yet He is revealed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are distinct, and yet work together in harmony because they are one.

The Creation and the Fall of Mankind

God created the world and everything in it. In five days God created the sun, moon, stars, earth, water, birds, and fish. On the sixth day God created all the creatures of the land, and then created man in His own image. Man is the crown of God’s creation and an expression of His love. God created Adam, the first man, pure and without sin. God wanted man to serve Him by personal choice. He gave Adam and his wife Eve one simple commandment, but they chose to disobey. Because of their sin they were separated from God. Their disobedience caused everyone to fall under the curse of sin and death. God was the only one who could redeem mankind. Because of His love “He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

God the Son

Complete text of: Christianity-What Is It?

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to earth as a baby, born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived the life of a common man. He was tempted of the Devil in many ways just as we are, yet never sinned. Jesus went about doing good, healing many people of their diseases. He taught them about salvation and the love of His Father. His purpose in coming to earth was to give Himself as a sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. As Jesus preached against sin and selfishness, the religious leaders became angry with Him. They delivered Him to the government authorities who crucified Him. After His death on the cross, His disciples placed His body in a tomb. On the third day, by the power of God, Jesus arose from the dead. Before He returned to heaven, He taught His followers how to establish the kingdom of God.

God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the godhead. He reveals the will of God to man. He reproves people for their idolatry and sinful deeds. He invites man to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as an atonement for their sin. To those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God gives the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is a counselor in all of life’s difficulties, a comforter in all tribulations. He reproves men of unrighteousness, guiding them into all truth.

The Bible

The Bible is God’s Word and His message to man. It is not a man-made book but was written by holy men of old as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible records the creation of the world and of man. It tells us that all have sinned and that sin separates man from God. It explains the way of redemption that is able to free everyone from the bondage of sin. The Bible teaches us how to live a godly life and how to prepare for eternity.

Living a Christian Life

To become a Christian we must realize our sinful condition. We must confess our sin and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. As we surrender our life to God, He fills us with the Holy Spirit. The power of the Spirit abiding within enables us to love and forgive others. A Christian will strive to maintain purity in his heart and be honest and truthful. When we fail, the Bible promises that “If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

After Life

The Bible teaches us of the two eternal destinies of the soul, heaven or hell. When we die, the soul departs the body to await God’s final judgment. At the judgment the saved will be invited into heaven. All those who have rejected God will be sent to hell. Hell is a terrible place. It is a bottomless pit of burning fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. All those who did not obey the voice of Jesus, but willfully lived in sin will burn forever without hope.

Heaven is God’s dwelling place. It is the most beautiful place of perfect peace and rest prepared by God. In heaven there will be no more sorrow or pain, no hunger or sickness. It is the home for all who have forsaken sin and accepted Jesus as their Savior. There the saved will sing and praise God forever.

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Gambling: Gain or Loss?

It is natural for man to desire a full, exciting, and rewarding life. Some people find fulfillment in achievement and education. Others spend their time and energy trying to get rich. Still others find a certain thrill in risk-taking. Some are willing to go to extreme ends for excitement. Betting and other forms of gambling are especially alluring to some. The lure of hitting the jackpot or winning large sums of money can be very addictive. Many homes have been brought to ruin by a father or mother who chose to gamble. Hearts have been broken and neglected because someone could not stay away from the bright lights of a casino.

The Cost

For many people, gambling starts in small ways. It is offered as a harmless form of entertainment, an escape from the humdrum of life. Casinos offer an alluring mix of lighting, food, drink, and music. In this party atmosphere, senses are dulled. It becomes hard to control impulses and urges. Casino workers are trained to help maintain and enhance this mood.

The first wager placed may be small and the risk low. Winning small amounts feels good and is addictive. It makes it easy to place another wager. As the wager amount gets larger and the stakes get higher, the pulse quickens. Some have found it almost impossible to control the urge to place just one more bet. Gamblers have lost fortunes, hoping for a lucky turn. In reality, a lucky turn hardly ever happens. Most often, gambling becomes a pattern of behavior that leads to a downward spiral. Borrowing money to cover losses seems like a solution, but soon comes to an end. There may even be a temptation to steal. One vows to stop gambling but feels he cannot. Feeling guilty, frustrated, and desperate, many have turned to drinking to drown their woes. Some have lost homes and riches. In their despair, they have considered taking their own lives. Gambling has ruined their lives and perhaps the lives of their loved ones.

A well-respected man and his wife had worked hard. When he died, she was left wealthy. She enjoyed gambling at bingo. This led to riskier forms of gambling and began to include drinking. In a few years she had lost almost everything and had become an alcoholic. Occasionally she was found lying on the street in a drunken stupor. Satan had led her deeper and deeper into his trap until almost all hope was gone.

Do you realize how selfish it is to gamble? Children go hungry, bills go unpaid, friendships are betrayed, and homes are broken all because someone chooses to satisfy a selfish desire. Something that looked so innocent has destroyed the quality of life. A person with plenty becomes a pauper. The price to pay is high, too high! Why would anyone choose to pay it?

Why Gamble?

Complete text of: Gambling: Gain or Loss?

Gambling is often motivated by covetousness. Covetousness can be defined as a wrong desire to have something. People have always wanted to be rich, to be famous, and to have others think highly of them. They covet the possessions of others. Being in control feels good. The Bible says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Many people believe that happiness is tied to wealth and ease. While the desire to become wealthy is natural, it is not godly. The Bible tells us that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

Jesus taught us to share what we have with others. He never intended us to gain from others’ losses. “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:42). Do you ever consider who loses when you win? “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). It is selfish to overlook others’ pain and loss just so I can have some fun and gain.

All that we are and have belongs to God. Is it pleasing to God if we gamble with that which belongs to Him? We are to be faithful servants, taking good care of the possessions given to us. “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

You Can Be a Winner!

Do you sometimes have feelings of guilt and despair after a time spent gambling? Would you like to be free from this addiction? There is a remedy! God loves you and wants you to come to Him just as you are. He is well able to deliver you. He is able to bring His mighty power to bear on your problem. Although you might feel there is no help for you, there is hope when you realize that you can no longer deal with your gambling on your own. The apostle Paul said, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25). Paul realized that his only hope for deliverance was to turn to Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus to deliver you from sin and temptation.

Jesus, in His mercy, is holding out a beautiful invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Honestly admit to your sins and faults, and come without excuses to Jesus. Ask Him to deliver you from the snare of gambling. Commit your heart with all of its thoughts, guilt, and sin to Him. He loves you and will fill the aching need in your heart. He will make it possible to live life in a new way. You can have peace and joy in your heart. You can be free from the guilt and pain of your past. The way of Jesus is a way of victory and peace. Come! He is waiting with open arms: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

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Your Life - Recorded

The Bible tells us that God knows everything, and that He is keeping a record of our lives. On the Judgment Day, we will be required to give an account of what He has recorded (Romans 14:11-12). “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works” (Revelation 20:12). When we stand before God in judgment, it will be too late to change our eternal destiny.

God sees both the good and the evil that we do. He knows our very thoughts and attitudes-good or bad. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). We will be judged by the record of our deeds. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

The Choice is Ours

In this life we can choose to follow Christ and His teachings or to follow the desires of our sinful flesh. In Galatians 5, the Bible lists the sins of the flesh. These are, “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like” (Galatians 5:19-21). If we are guilty of these, this scripture tells us we cannot inherit the kingdom of God. By the grace of a loving heavenly Father, we receive forgiveness when we repent and believe in Christ. The blood of Christ then covers our sins and they will be erased from the record.

The Bible also lists the fruit that is produced in our lives when we surrender to God. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” (Galatians 5:22-23). It is a miracle of grace that we can have this fruit associated with our names in the records in heaven.

Complete text of: Your Life - Recorded

The Word of God warns us about the pitfalls and perils that will confront us, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). It is evident that conditions in the world are not favorable to Christian living. We are surrounded by evil of every description. Since we are accountable for our every word and deed, we must make those choices that will bring forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

There are many passages in the Bible that warn us about neglecting our salvation. “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:18). “And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (Exodus 32:33). “Come see a man [Jesus], which told me all things that ever I did” (John 4:29). Although these are sober words, God has promised to forgive our sins when we repent and believe in the atoning blood of Christ. Instead of blotting out our names, He will blot our sins from the records.

Is Your Name in the Book of Life?

In order to have our names written in the book of life, we must accept the invitation of Jesus: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). No one is exempt from the guilt of sin without the atoning blood of Jesus. Because of His love, He voluntarily shed His blood on the cross for our sins. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). He also said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Jesus invites everyone to come to Him and be saved from sin.

After our names have been written in the book of life we do not want to have them erased. Jesus says, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11). And again, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). These verses warn us to be watchful and not to neglect our commitment to serve God. Satan, the enemy of our soul, is described as a roaring lion that will devour us if we do not resist him steadfastly in the faith (1 Peter 5:8-9). We need to search God’s Word and be constant in our prayers, or else our salvation may slip away from us. We are promised, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).

Be Ready for the Judgment Day

Today is the day of grace, an opportunity to set our house in order and to prepare for the Judgment Day. When we die, our mortal bodies will return to dust. But when Jesus returns to judge the world on the Resurrection Day, everyone will receive an immortal body that will live eternally in heaven or in hell. If there is any stain of sin on our hearts, let us turn to Jesus today to have it washed away. Then we can be ready to enter heaven on that great and notable day. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).

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