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WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN

Some of you may be wondering what it means to be a Christian. Well, hopefully this will answer some questions as we walk through the Scriptures together. I encourage you to have your Bible and a notebook in hand. Look up the verses with me and use the notebook to write down any questions that you may have.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…

It begins with GOD. In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, the first verse of the first chapter says, "In the beginning GOD…" God existed before anyone and anything. He is THE Creator. He always was, always is and always will be! God is perfect, and in His perfection He created the world and all the creatures in it. He decided to share His beautiful creation with others and that is where we come in…well almost. First we have Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve were the first humans ever to live and then eventually, a very, very, very long time later, you and I were born. Now, when God created Adam and Eve they were told to not eat of a specific tree in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17). BUT, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and as a result, sin was brought into their lives and all lives to follow, resulting in separation from God. That includes you and me.

SO HERE'S THE PROBLEM…

We were born with this sin nature and, therefore, do not have to be taught to sin.

  • Romans 5:12 - "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned."
  • This comes VERY naturally to us. Sin is anything that displeases God or goes against His will. Even if I were to try to be really, really good, I would still fail and fall short of the glory of God.

  • Romans 3:23 - "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
  • We naturally want to sin and, because sin equals spiritual death, this means that we would be separated from God for all eternity.

  • Romans 6:23a - "For the wages of sin is death"
  • We all have this deep longing inside of us for something more. Sometimes, we try to fill this longing with other 'things' of this world or even with other people and relationships, BUT the truth is, this longing can only be filled by God. Sin separates us from God because God is perfect and holy and cannot look upon sin. Sin will be judged.

  • Hebrews 9:27 - "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment."
  • So, that is bad news for us, BUT the good news is on the way. Praise God that it doesn't end here so please keep reading to discover the Hope and Freedom that can be yours.

    JESUS CHRIST

    At the end of the verse we just read in Romans 6:23, we see that there is the word 'BUT'.

  • Romans 6:32b - "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
  • This is exciting because it does not end in death! God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price of our sins.

  • Romans 5:8 - "BUT GOD demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
  • WOW! Jesus Christ took all of our sin and died so that we may become children of God. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, we can read that Jesus became sin so that we could be made righteous (without blame) before God.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 - "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
  • So Jesus died for our sins, but it still doesn't end there. Jesus conquered death, meaning that He conquered sin so that we can live for eternity, free from the punishment of sin. Jesus died and then rose again on the third day.

  • Romans 8:34 - "Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us."
  • Jesus received what we deserve so that we could receive what we do not deserve. Jesus 'intercedes' for us. This means that He acts on our behalf. Think of it this way. Let's say one day you stole a bike and you were going to be sent to jail. You're standing in front of the judge, and the judge steps down off the stand and says that he will go to jail in your place. He decided to take your punishment. Now, even though the judge did not steal the bike, he decides to go to jail for you so that you can be free. WOW! He would go to jail so that you didn't have to. This is called GRACE. We cannot be saved in our own strength, but only because of what God has done for us through Christ.

  • Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
  • YOU CAN BE MADE CLEAN…

    So here is this amazingly good news…this amazing gift. You may be asking; "So what does that mean for me?" It means that you can be made clean through Jesus Christ. You can receive this gift.

  • John 1:12 - "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."
  • YES, BUT HOW?

    It begins and ends with God. He has made it possible to enter into a beautiful relationship with Him, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the payment of your sin.

  • Romans 10:9-10 - "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
  • It is not enough to just hear the truth and think, "WOW, that's cool!" We must declare Jesus Christ as our Lord.

  • Mark 1:15 - "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
  • You need to believe what the Bible says about Jesus. This takes faith in Christ alone and His work on the cross.

  • Hebrews 7:25 - "Therefore He (Jesus) is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."
  • If you believe all of these things and would like to trust Christ as your personal Savior you can pray and confess these things to Him.

    "Dear God, I know that I am a sinner.

    I believe that you are God and that You are Perfect.

    I know that my sin deserves to be punished and that I need YOU.

    I pray that Jesus Christ would be my Savior and forgive me of my sins.

    Thank you for this free gift and help me turn from sin to serve you.

    I give you my life.

    Please help me to learn to love and follow You.

    In Jesus Name I pray.

    Amen."

    You can trust that God is faithful to finish this work in you. Nothing can separate you from Him and you can REST in knowing this truth (Romans 8:38-39). When you come to know the Lord and accept Him as your Savior, He begins a good work in you and He will complete it.

  • Philippians 1:6 - "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
  • If you believe this or have any questions, please email us here at tapawingo@camp-of-the-woods.org. I encourage you to study the verses that you have read. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. I am so excited that you have taken the time to read this and want to know what it means to follow Jesus. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    In Christ,

    Miss Joy

    Tapawingo Director

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