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Ali Zaki

Christianity 101

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(bismillah)

NOTE- This post was composed solely by one particular member, Placid. The post was up for a sufficient amount of time to allow other Christian members to comment. Since no formal objections were posted in the thread, I will post this summary "as is".

Other Christian members (such as Javy) have stated that they disagree that the views of the author of this summary represent those of mainstream Christians, however, no formal objection (in the appropriate thread) was put forward and no post of significance has been offered as a alternative.

So here it is...

P.S. The only thing I have added, at the request of other members is heading to group the topics by subject. The "headlines" are my own, however, I have not changed in any fashion the actual content within the subject headings.

ChristianityIn their own words

Christianity 101

Christians believe in One God.

God is All in All. --- He is Sovereign, Transcendent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Self Existent, Self Sufficient.

Genesis 1:1-3, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2. The earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3. Then God said, let there be light, and there was light.’

Genesis 1:26-27, ‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth”.

27. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’

Adam and Eve sinned and were expelled from the Garden of Delight (Eden). They lost their first estate which was Spiritual and sinless, and in harmony with God. They died spiritually and also lost their dominion over the natural beings and came to live among them rather than ruling over them.

Romans 5:12, ‘Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned ---‘.

But --- even from the beginning God gave a promise of redemption for the sinner.

Romans 5:18-21, ‘Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life.

19. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

21. So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’

The Sacrificial system was known to Noah, Abraham and Moses where man could approach God through a suitable substitute, usually through an innocent unblemished animal.

The Ten Commandments

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments which have been relevant and applicable to every society. Though they were given to the Jews they are often displayed by Christians in Churches and buildings where applicable.

They are listed in Exodus 20:3-17. In brief they are as follows:

1. Trust God only. (20:3-4)

2. Worship God only. (20:5-6)

3. Use God’s name in ways that honor Him. (20:7)

4. Rest on the Sabbath day and honor God. (20:8-11)

5. Respect and obey your parents. (20:12)

6. Protect and respect human life. (20:13)

7. Be true to your husband or wife. (20:14)

8. Do not take what belongs to others. (20:15)

9. Do not lie about others. (20:16)

10. Be satisfied with what you have. (20:17)

About 1400 years after God gave these commandments, Jesus upheld them. He actually placed these laws on a higher plane, demanding that the spirit as well as the legal aspects, of the laws be observed. Matthew 5:17. (We will see this later).

The Background of "The Sacrifice"

There were lines of kings that followed Moses and also the many Prophets. They were very important to the Christian faith because ‘prophecy’ is foretelling future events by the Holy Spirit of God. Some prophets spoke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit continually, others occasionally, and some only once, but their prophecies were what bind the Bible together. Most of the prophecies in the OT have been fulfilled in the NT (there are a few yet to be fulfilled).

Consider Isaiah 7:14, (written over 700 years before it happened), ‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel (which means, ‘God with us’)’, Matthew 1:23.

Isaiah 9:6, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called, Wonderful, Counselor --- the Prince of Peace.’

Micah 5:2, (written over 700 years before it happened), But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel.’ Matthew 2:5-6, Luke 2:4-7.

Because of prophecy the Bible is proven to be the inspired Word of God as the prophecies in the OT verify the Prophet that spoke them and the fulfillment, as cross referenced in the Scripture, shows the accuracy of the NT.

2 Peter 1:19-21 verifies this by saying, ‘We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

20. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,

21. for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’.

The Bible

Christians believe the Bible to be the inspired authoritative Word of God.

The word Testament means Covenant or Agreement and God said in Jeremiah 31:33, and Hebrews 8:10,

‘This is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their mind, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people’.

In due time the angel Gabriel announced to Zecharias that his wife Elizabeth would have a son, Luke 1:13-17,

13. ‘The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zecharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall call his name John.

14. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

15. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

16. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.

17. He will also go before Him (Jesus) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord”. Malachi, 4:5-6.

Six months later the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary, in Luke 1:30-35,

30. ‘Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

31. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus”.

34. ‘Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I do not know a man?”

35. And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God”.

(A note to readers)

(As prophecy ties the OT to the NT, so Gabriel ties the NT to the Quran. This same angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad years later and revealed Scripture to him as he delivered messages to Zecharias and Mary, which are duly recorded in Surahs 3 and 19).

John the Baptist came as,

---‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness’ (saying)

--- “Prepare the way of the Lord,

--- Make His paths straight”. --- As prophesied by Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1.

John gave new meaning to baptism when he started his ministry as a forerunner of Jesus. His message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, and “be baptized for the remission and forgiveness of sins”. Read Matthew 3:1-12 and Luke 3:1-20.

Jesus came to John and was baptized by him, Matthew 3:13-17.

The angel Gabriel said that Jesus would ‘be called the Son of God’ and after His baptism, ‘Suddenly a Voice came from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. 3:17

WHY IS JESUS CALLED THE SON OF GOD

--- ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’---‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved’. --- John 3:16-17.

As stated previously, He was born of the Virgin Mary and had no earthly father so there was no human blood line to transfer sin to Him. He was sinless.

Surah 21:91, ‘And she who was chaste, therefore We breathed into her something of our Spirit and made her and her son a ‘token’ for all peoples’.

John 1:1-2 says, ‘In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God. He was in the beginning with God’. (The Personage of The Word had the Divine nature of God).

Verse 14 says, ‘And The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’

The Personage of The Word indwelt the human body of Jesus and gave Him a Divine nature in a human body. And He was, and is, the ‘token’ for all peoples.

When Jesus began His ministry He said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, 6 and 7, He describes His tender compassion for people in the ‘Beatitudes’ 5:1-16, and shows how the New Covenant of grace relates to the Old Covenant of law. --- He said in 5:17,

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I did not come to destroy but to fulfill”.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. John 13:34-35.

When asked by a lawyer, ‘What is the great commandment of the law?’ Jesus replied,

“You shall love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets”. Matthew 22:36-40.

The Ten Commandments are fulfilled in these Commandments to Love. The first one, ‘Love God’ covers the first four, relating to God. The second, ‘Love your neighbor’ covers the last six, parents, family, relationships.

Jesus said, ‘LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’ Matthew 5:16.

RITUAL AND WORSHIP OF CHRISTIANS

Because of these great teachings of Jesus and the diversity in our Denominational Churches the methods of applying the principles and practices of our faith vary in our Christian communities. We have many failures in living out the ‘righteousness of Christ’ in our daily lives but in Him we have the perfect Role Model to follow.

A general weekly program of many Churches involves: Bible study, prayer, Church attendance, singing, praise and worship, tithing, service to others, --- however, they are not compulsory.

There are several Ordinances observed by Churches, the two most prominent are baptism and communion, other practices are child dedication, commissioning of officers, ordination of ministers, foot washing, fasting, and abstinence.

THE PILLAR OF CHRISTIANITY

THE MAIN PILLAR IS FAITH --- and Christians in Churches around the world have a common bond of faith.

‘Without FAITH it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He IS, and that He IS a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him’. Hebrews 11:6.

‘For by GRACE you have been SAVED through FAITH and that not of yourselves, it is THE GIFT OF GOD, not of works, lest anyone should boast’, Ephesians 2:8-9.

SALVATION is a gift which is given as a result of our FAITH in Christ, not of our own merit. --- GRACE is undeserved favor.

‘Therefore being JUSTIFIED by FAITH we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ’, Romans 5:1

JUSTIFICATION is through FAITH. We have PEACE with God, and through this standing we can approach Him in prayer at any time. Through FAITH He becomes the object of our affection, as we already are the object of His affection.

‘Just as Abraham BELIEVED GOD and it was accounted to him for righteousness, therefore know that only those who are of FAITH are sons of Abraham. For you are all sons of God through FAITH in Jesus Christ. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’ Gal 3:6, 7, 26, 29, John 1:12-13.

‘There is now no CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit’, Romans 8:1

No longer CONDEMNED before God but JUSTIFIED through FAITH in Jesus who loved us and gave His life for us.

‘For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once.’ 1 Cor 15:3-6, Mark 8:31.

ANOTHER PILLAR IS PRAYER

A model was given in Mat 6:9-13 where Jesus said,

9. ‘In this manner, therefore, pray:

--- Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name

10. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11. Give us this day our daily bread.

12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors

13. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

--- For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen’.

This prayer is used regularly in many Churches and occasionally in others.

--- The Scripture says, ‘Men ought always to pray and not faint, or lose heart’, Luke 18:1.

--- ‘I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.’ 1 Tim 2:1

Many Christians pray early in the morning. They offer prayers for their food at each meal. They pray before they retire for the night. --- and often pray many more times through the day.

Because Christianity has been expressed, not as a religion, but as a relationship with God, many try to ‘Practice the presence of God’ or, ‘Pray without ceasing’, 1 Thes 5:17. or ‘Be constantly in the attitude of prayer’. --- Prayer is our communication with Him.

OTHER BELIEFS

Christians believe in ANGELS, HEAVEN, HELL, and THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, Matthew 25: 31-46.

Christians believe that Satan and evil spirits are constant tempters in the world as written in John 2:15-17,

15. ‘Love not the world (the Godless society in which we live) or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him.

16. For all that is in the world --- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life --- is not of the Father but is of the world.

17. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever’.

THE HOLY SPIRIT

The POWER of the Christian life is the HOLY SPIRIT. Both John the Baptist and Jesus were indwelt by the Holy Spirit and Jesus told His disciples in John 14,

15. ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16. And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,

17. even the SPIRIT of TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you (presently indwelling the Person of Jesus) and will be in you’ (after the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2).

26, The Helper, the HOLY SPIRIT whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you’.

16:13. ‘When He, the SPIRIT of TRUTH, has come He will guide you into all truth.

14. He will glorify Me for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.’

When Jesus came He always glorified God the Father. --- Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would glorify Him (Jesus). --- Jesus did not glorify Himself --- but today Christians around the world glorify Jesus because they are indwelt by this same Holy Spirit that Jesus said would glorify Him.

The Book of Acts is the continuation of the Gospel of Luke and in Acts 1, Jesus was with the disciples for the last time before His ascension to heaven.

4. ‘And being assembled together with them He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, you have heard of Me’.

7. ‘And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

8. But you shall receive POWER when the HOLY SIRIT has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”.

Acts 2:1, ‘Now, when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3. Then there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

4. And they were all FILLED with the HOLY SPIRIT.’

FAITH VS. WORKS

Jesus said to Nicodemus, ‘Unless one is BORN AGAIN, (born anew, born from above, born spiritually) he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ John 3:3.

Peter said, ‘Having been BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever’. 1 Peter 1:23.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us through THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’. Titus 3:5.

( This refers to the ‘born again’ or ‘new birth’ experience which is available to all, but not all Denominations teach this as a prerequisite for salvation).

Nevertheless, this indwelling Holy Spirit fulfills the Covenant where God said, ‘I will put My law in their mind and write it on their hearts’.

THE LAW

The Law within, the Holy Spirit, teaches what is right and wrong so we don’t need written laws, other than the Scripture, and personal discipline. 1 Thes 5:12-23. His guidance is within the Law.

The Holy Spirit produces fruit within the Christian’s life, Gal 5:22-23.

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. AGAINST SUCH THERE IS NO LAW.’

The Holy Spirit gives gifts of empowerment to those He calls to service, 1 Cor 12-14.

The work of the Holy Spirit is, ‘To convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,’ John 16:7-13

THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS

In Acts 1:9-11 the Apostles witnessed the ‘Ascension of Christ”.

9. ‘Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel,

11. who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

We believe He is coming again, as He said,

“And behold I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the Churches. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” “Surely I am coming quickly”.

‘Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!’ Rev 22:12, 16, 20.

VERIFICATION AND AUTHENTICITY OF THE N.T.

There is an abundance of documentation on the NT and the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary says, ‘About AD 140 Valentinus accepted practically the whole NT as it was accepted later’. --- ‘Thus from the second half of the second century onward the Church acknowledged a NT of the same general dimension as ours.’

One of the oldest documents from the Apostolic Age is the Apostles Creed below,

The Apostles' Creed

I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

I would like to include a ‘Covenant of Membership’ which may be found in some form in many Churches which gives an idea of the application of the principles, and how participants determine to follow them in their Churches, and to be a witness to the world in which we live.

We do in the presence of men, confess Christ as our Savior and Lord; and do give ourselves heartily to His service, and take His word as the rule of our life. And having been united by faith to Him, we do now, as a Church of Christ, unite with one another in this Covenant.

We shall observe habitually secret prayer and the reading of the Scriptures, earnestly seeking therein the help of the Holy Spirit.

We, who are the heads of families, shall maintain the worship of God in our homes, and shall endeavor to lead our children, or others committed to our charge, to faith in Christ and to the Christian life.

We shall attend regularly, as far as Providence permits, the public worship of God on the Lord’s Day, and such other meetings of worship as the Church may appoint, and we shall observe together the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.

We shall walk together in brotherly love, with Christian sympathy and kindness, and shall admonish and help one another as may be needful. We shall not bring to the Church a complaint against any member for personal trespass or offence until we have taken the first and second steps pointed out by Christ (Matthew 18:15-17); thus endeavoring to settle all private offences without publicity.

We shall aid as the Lord shall prosper us, in supporting a faithful Christian ministry among us, and in sending the Gospel to the whole human family; and as we have opportunity we shall seek by example and word to lead men to Christ.

We shall endeavor to live soberly and righteously and Godly in this present world, abstaining from whatever is unbecoming to the Christian character; and as baptism signifies our death to sin and resurrection to holiness, so we shall seek to walk in newness of life.

Peace,

Edited by Ali Zaki

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