Whether you are a new Christian, or you’ve followed Christ for decades, whether you’re a child or a senior adult, there are some basics of the Christian faith that everyone should learn.
Often in services at RPC we’ll recite together the words of the Creed. Sometimes called the Apostles’ Creed, or the Roman Creed, we use the oldest known version. Other churches utilize similar verbiage, so it may be familiar, or you may notice a different word or phrase. The heart of it is the same – it’s a statement of what we believe to be true about God.
I believe in God the Father Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Church, the communion of believers, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Another is the Lord’s Prayer. This is the model prayer, given to us by Jesus to teach us how to pray.
This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
We should also know the Big Gospel Story, or as it’s called in our children’s ministry, the Big God Story. This teaches us about creation, the fall, redemption, and restoration.
Creation: In the beginning was God, and He created all things, including man.
The Fall: In God’s design of man, man was given free will, the power to choose his own way. It was man’s choice that led to the fall.
Redemption (Also called Reconciliation): Jesus offered Himself to pay man’s debt for the sin, the fall. Jesus redeemed man with His blood.
Restoration: Because of Jesus’ payment, man can be in restored fellowship with God now, and will be restored with Him in eternity.
Once we know the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and especially the Big Gospel Story, we want to share them. And we should, according to The Great Commission. This statement contains an imperative verb – it’s a command given to all believers. It’s also where we get a portion of our RPC Mission Statement: Loving God with all that we are while making more and better followers of Christ – it’s The Great Commission that leads us to make more and better followers of Christ.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest, and He was clear in His answer that all of the other commandments hinge on the two He noted as greatest. These Greatest Commandments also shaped our mission statement, specifically the portion in which we commit to Loving God with all that we are.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
— Mark 12:28-31
Christians should also learn the Ten Commandments. A recent study of 12-22-year-olds revealed that more than 25% of that age group cannot point to what defines right from wrong. Realizing that we can’t look to culture for that definition, because the culture is ever-changing, and we can’t look to the legal system for the answer because often moral, or immoral, issues aren’t addressed by laws, we’re right to point to a Biblical answer to the question of right and wrong. A good starting point is the Ten Commandments. While Jesus did away with the civic, dietetic, and ritualistic aspects of the law, He reiterated the relevance of the law regarding moral issues.
God designed the Ten Commandments to reveal His nature and the way He designed us to live. They were never meant to be restrictive barriers, but guides to enable us to live within His character and His word. They set us, God’s people, apart from the world, to live as God intended for us. They don’t bring salvation, but they are a response to His salvation – Jesus told His followers, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
To do this, we have to know the commandments. The first five of the Ten Commandments guide us in how we are to love God, and the last five are guides to loving others.
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall make no idols.
3. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
5. Honor your mother and father.
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not lie.
10. Do not covet.
— Exodus 20:2-17
Knowing these provide a foundation for our faith. Knowing, and living, these truths will enable us to walk with God and live the way He intended, continuously increasing in our faith and knowledge of Him.