Teachings...

 

May 2006

The Church — Part 1
Getting Started
By Pastor Paul Van Noy

Last month we examined the message of the gospel. (Available on- line at: www.goodnewsnorthwest.org.) If you read it and have made the decision to make Jesus your Lord and Savior, the result of your decision is the gift of eternal life: life forever in the presence of the Lord. The Gospel of Luke says, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.” (Luke 15:10) Simply stated, that means there is a celebration in heaven over you because you have chosen to serve the Lord.

A New Beginning
When we choose to trust in Christ for eternal life, we are born again by the Spirit of God and given a new beginning. The Bible says, “… if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) All your sins have been washed away. As you surrender your life to the Lord you will enjoy freedom from the condemnation of sin and relief from shame in the presence of the Lord. God removes our sin “as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12) Peace and rest are now yours in Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord.

Getting Started Right
Here are a few basic points that will assist you in your walk with Jesus.

Read The Bible
Paul the apostle told his young student Timothy, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) It is important to know what God has said in His Word. He gives us the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to make His will know to us and allow us to discern between the truth and a lie. The Word of God provides us with “… all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3) You should make time each day to read and study the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible one can be purchased at the local Christian bookstore. If you cannot afford a Bible one may be provided you at your church or at Candlelight Christian Fellowship free of charge.

Talk To God
Jesus said: “…men ought always to pray…” (Luke 18:1) Prayer is talking to God. You don’t need to be formal. Simply begin to share your thoughts and desires with the Lord. God loves to have us come to Him, talk with Him and seek His help and counsel. He desires to have us share with Him all that is in our hearts. In prayer we recognize our inability to rely upon self and put all our trust in Him. By prayer God will provide all our daily needs. Prayer helps keep us close to the Lord and keeps us open to His will for our lives. Jesus said His house is to be a house of prayer. The Bible says “…your body is the temple (the house) of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Therefore, as a Christian you are called to be a person of prayer. Pray every day… all the time. If your church has a prayer meeting go to it and get involved.

Fellowship With Other Believers
The Bible teaches the importance of spending time with other Christians. We are blessed to worship together, study the Scriptures, pray together and encourage one another as we grow. Paul told the Hebrew Christians not to forsake “…the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhort one another: and so much the more, as you see the day (of the Lord) approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) Most good churches have developed regular gatherings designed for worship, prayer, Bible study and fellowship. Throughout the week there are a number of activities designed to assist believers. As we gather together with other believers we enjoy what the Bible calls the assembly. As Christians we are corporately and individually the Church. When we gather together we are corporately united for worship, instruction, fellowship and encouragement. This is called the assembly. I want to encourage you to make Christian fellowship (assembling together) a regular part of your weekly schedule. It is God’s will for you! Those who refuse to gather with other believers are resisting the leadership of the Bible and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

You Are The Church.
As stated above, Christians are the Church. Believers are spiritually joined together with others who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Believers who have lived from the time of the resurrection of Jesus and up until the Rapture are one Church: the “Body of Christ,” uniquely called and sanctified. It is a privilege to be numbered with all those who have responded to the call of God and surrendered their lives to Jesus.

Celebrate the faith. Gather with others who do the same. Love God. Love the Church.

Next month we will look more deeply at the “outgrowth” of your faith as it relates to involvement with other believers.

Blessings to you all,