“Our Membership is Discipleship”
Our Membership is Discipleship:
Christ House believes that the purpose of the Church is to Worship God Almighty by our embrace of His great grace toward us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Worship is our response and we believe that this is most fully expressed in discipleship as Jesus Himself commanded us. Thus, membership in our local church is discipleship.
Becoming a Disciple:
Whether it be in the context of our local churches or in the universal church all across the world, becoming a disciple means a commitment to follow Jesus and find life in Him. On a personal level, this is a choice you must make to repent of your current manner of life put your faith in Jesus, accepting His Gospel.
You need to be clear from the beginning that God creates human beings for intimacy with Himself; but no one naturally fulfills this purpose. We are all out of step with God. In Bible language, we are sinners, guilty before God and separated from Him. Life in Christ is, first and foremost, God taking loving action to remedy a dire situation.
The key facts of this divine remedy, which the Bible calls the Gospel (meaning “good news”), are these: God the Father sent his eternal Son into this world to reconcile us sinners to Him, and to preserve and prepare us for His glory in the life to come. Born of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, the Son, whose human name is Jesus, lived a perfect life, died a criminal’s death as a sacrifice for our sins, and rose from the grave to rule as Christ (meaning “the Anointed”) on His Father’s behalf in the Kingdom of God. Now reigning in heaven, He continues to draw sinners to Himself through communication of the Gospel here on earth. He enables us by the Holy Spirit to turn whole-heartedly from our sinful and self-centered ways (repentance) and to entrust ourselves to Him to live in union and communion with Him (faith). In spiritual terms, self-centeredness is the way of death, and fellowship with Christ is the way of life. Holy Baptism, the rite of entry into the Church’s fellowship, pictures this transition from death to life in Christ. The Apostle Peter said, as He proclaimed the Gospel on Pentecost morning: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself” (Acts 2:38-39).
God the Father calls us to Himself through God the Son. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). As we come to the Father through Jesus Christ, we experience the unconditional and transforming love of God.
God the Son calls us to believe in Him. After Jesus was raised from the dead, one of His followers named Thomas said that he would only believe if he could see Jesus and touch His wounds. Jesus later appeared, held out His hands, and told Thomas to put his finger in the wounds. Thomas then exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). We may understand a great deal about Jesus, as Thomas did before this encounter, but that is not the same as personally believing in Jesus as our Lord and God. We can attend church services and do many good things without knowing the risen Jesus. Knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord means personally believing in Him, surrendering our lives to Him, and results in our living as His joyful followers.
God the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and hearts to believe in Jesus, and gives us spiritual birth and life as we do. Our loving Father will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13). As we place our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us and wonderfully provides us with power and gifts for life and ministry as Jesus’ disciples. To live faithfully as Christians we must rely upon the equipping and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are near to us at all times and will hear us whenever we pray with sincerity, truly meaning what we say. God calls us to repentance and faith in Christ, and a way to enter into life in Christ is to say a prayer like this – preferably in the presence of a mature Christian:
Prayer of Repentance and Faith:
Lord Jesus Christ, I confess my faults, shortcomings, sins, and rebellious acts, and ask You to forgive me. I embrace You, Lord Jesus, as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for Your atoning death on the cross in obedience to Your Father’s will to put away my sins. I enthrone You, Lord Jesus, to be in charge of every part of my life, and I ask You to indwell and empower me with Your Holy Spirit, so that I may live as Your faithful follower from now on. Amen.
Inquirers who are on the road to faith, but know they are not yet ready to pray these words with full sincerity, may still be able to pray honestly along the following lines:
O God, my Creator, who sent Your Son as the Way, the Truth and the Life to save me and all the world, I believe in Your reality. Help my unbelief.
I long to understand all that it means to be loved, known, and forgiven by You, and to be made whole: at peace with You, others, myself, and Your creation. I know I have sinned against You, others, myself, and the creation of which I am part.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Open my eyes to all that You are, and draw me closer to You, I pray. Amen.
God will always answer honest prayer, made with patience, persistence, and humility.1
Sources, definitions and resources:
1. The section on “Gospel” was taken from The Catechism of the Anglican Church in North America, J. I. Packer, et al.