Merstham Baptist Church

‘I’M NEW’

Who and why Jesus

No one person has had a greater impact in history than Jesus Christ.  Our calendar is based around the time of His life on earth.  2015 years on, He is still changing lives.  No serious historian would dispute the basic facts of His life, or His death by crucifixion.  But it is what He said and others said about Him as recorded in the Bible that sets Him apart, a teacher, a healer, a miracle worker, oh and yes, He claimed to be God.  His death was not the end, his disciples claimed, and we believe that God raised Him from the dead and that He lives now in heaven and by His Spirit in those who believe in Him and follow him.  There are over 2 Billion Christians in the world, can they all be wrong?  The author C.S.Lewis wrote that “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic on the level of a man who says he is a poached egg or else he would be the devil of hell.  You must make your choice.  Either the man was and is the Son of God or else a madman or something worse”.  One thing is for sure, considering what Jesus said and promised to us He is worth serious investigation!

The Bible: Explained’

The Gospel – literally “good news” – begins and ends with God’s love.  In the beginning of the bible we read about God’s relationship with Adam and Eve, how He encouraged them to enjoy all the good things in the Garden of Eden.  He walked with them in the garden and talked with them.  It was a relationship of love and trust.  Sadly they chose to break that trust when they disobeyed the only rule He had given them.  From that day on there was a change in human nature forever.  The disobedience, we call sin, has infected us ever since.  Because God is pure and Holy, He can’t tolerate sin. So much so that He has decreed the punishment for sin to be death.  None the less God still loves us and although we could do nothing about our sin, God did.  He sent Jesus His only Son to us to show us His love and to take our punishment, which we deserve, in our place by dying on the cross.  Just as God gave Adam and Eve free will to choose to obey or not, so He gives us free will to choose whether to accept His sacrifice or not.  We can take our own punishment or we can come humbly to God and ask him for forgiveness and let Jesus take the punishment we deserve.  If we do this we enter into a new relationship where once again we can experience Gods love and blessings and much more.

G) God’s – R) riches – A) at – C) Christ’s – E) expense

Faith Questions

Why does God allow bad things to happen?

God loves us and does not want us to suffer. But He is not a dictator and does not seek to control out lives. He has from the beginning given us free choice, unfortunately mankind choice to rebel against God, and as a result the perfect world God created became corrupted and suffering became part of the human condition. For a fuller answer go to http://www.kingschurch.eu/bigobjections/#media

I don’t feel good enough to be a Christian, why’s that?

Welcome to the club!  It is because none of us are good enough, not even the very best of us is perfect or holy like God.  The prophet Isaiah writes ‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him   the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 63:6, and in the book of Romans 3:23 Paul writes ‘ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ So not feeling good enough means you are half way there!  The good news is that that it does not depend on how good we are, it is entirely because of God’s love for us and his grace and mercy.  The end of the Isaiah verse tells us that God has laid the punishment for our sin on Him (Jesus) and Romans goes on to say ‘and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.’ So if we confess to God that we are not good enough, that we have done things wrong and we trust in Jesus death as having paid the penalty for our sin then we can receive Jesus into our lives and begin a new relationship with Him free from guilt and empowered by God who comes to live in us by the Holy Spirit.

What’s the Trinity?

Christians believe that God is One God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit and that all three are in total unity.  We could use the sun to illustrate what we mean – The sun gives warmth, light and UV radiation, they are all separate things but all equally part of the sun.  In the very first verse of the Bible Genesis 1:1-2, we read ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. We see that God the creator was there and so was the Spirit of God.  In John 1:1-4 we read ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.’  And in verse 14 it tells us ‘ The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ So we find that Jesus was also in the beginning with God and the Spirit.  In Paul’s letter to the church at Collossi he wrote of Jesus:  The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.’ In John’s gospel we read how Jesus called God His Father and said that He and the Father are one. He also said He was sending the Spirit to be with His disciples after He had gone.  The Spirit would guide them, speak to them, remind them, He would convict the world of sin and righteousness and He would live in them and empower them.

Why do Christians have bread and wine sometimes on a Sunday?

On the night that Jesus was arrested, He shared the Passover meal with His disciples. During this meal, he predicted what was going to happen to Him and used the bread and wine to illustrate this. He took some bread that represented His body, which was broken for us. Then He took some wine and said this is my blood spilled for you. He commanded us to eat the bread and drink the wine to remember Him. Jesus later died on the cross, for our sins and then rose to life conquering death. Check out 1 Corinthians 11:17 (link) onwards.

What Easter About?

Easter is a very important time for Christians as we especially remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The historical facts are well documented that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on the hill known as Golgotha outside the city wall of Jerusalem, on the third day after His crucifixion He miraculously returned to life and was seen by over 500 people over the following weeks before being taken up to heaven in front of his disciples’ eyes.  But it is what His death and resurrection mean that is so wonderful, which is why the day of His death is known as Good Friday.  Jesus who was God came to earth to save us and when He died he took our punishment for all our wrongdoing, He didn’t have any sin, He was pure and blameless and didn’t need to die – He could simply have returned to heaven. But He did die an awful death on our behalf and then on the third day He was raised to life.  Because He was pure and holy death could not hold Him, He conquered death and sin and opened up a way for us to come to God and have a relationship with Him. Ephesians 2:8-9  ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast’. 

Who’s the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity; He is God and one with the Father and the Son (Jesus).  He was there at the beginning when the world was created, Genesis1:1-2.  Jesus sent Him to live in believers to be our counsellor and guide John14:16. And to empower us Acts1:8.  He has feelings; we are instructed not to grieve the Spirit Ephesians 4:30, and two believers were found to have lied to Him Acts 5:3. So we see He is a ‘person’ send by God to do his work in us and through us on earth.

What’s salvation?

The bible tells us quite plainly that because of sin we are separated from God; (Romans 3:23) and that this separation means that we are subject to God’s just punishment which is death (Romans ch6 v 23).  But because God is love He does not wish to be separated from us or to punish us, so He sent Jesus, His one and only Son to take that punishment for us by His death on the cross. John3:16 says For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ Salvation is God saving us from the eternal separation from Him that we deserve and bringing us into a relationship with himself and giving us eternal life with him. Amazing! See http://www.christianityexplored.org/what-is-christianity

What’s Baptism?

Here at MBC we baptize people who have made their own minds up to follow Jesus. We baptize by total immersion in a pool. This is called ‘Believer’s Baptism’. Water baptism is a visual and public testimony to others and confirmation of our inward response of accepting and receiving God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Water baptism is a natural expression of our sincere and whole-hearted desire to live like Christ and to follow Him. The water cannot save us – only Jesus does that.  We are a church that believes in the baptism of believers because Jesus was baptized in this way and he commanded his disciples to baptize others.

Baptists have a lot in common with other Christians but we only baptize people who are old enough to decide for themselves that they want to follow Jesus.

What’s Prayer?

Prayer is simply a way that we can talk to God. Jesus said the best way to pray is to ‘go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you’. (Matthew 6:6) Prayer is a time of being real with God. It is also good to pray with other and for others in all situations, including those who are sick with the laying on of hands. (James 5:14 & 2 Timothy 1:6) To find out more about prayer, check out justpray http://www.justpray.uk and 24-7prayer. http://www.24-7prayer.com

How do I become a Christian?

Becoming a Christian is a big step but not a complicated one.  We would recommend the following short video http://www.lookingforgod.com/ If you would like to chat to someone or have someone pray with you, we would consider it our privilege to do so.  We would love to meet with you and help you on you journey.

I just accepted Jesus into my life, what now?

Congratulations!  You have just begun an amazing journey with Jesus in your life.  You are probably hungry to find out more of what it means for you?  The bible uses the picture of the body with Jesus as the head and His followers as the rest of the body (His hands and feet).  We all need each other to be an effective body, which is why we have church – we can’t all be hands or feet or eyes or noses!  The leg can’t say to the hand ‘I don’t need you’!  We hope that you will want to come and join us where we can answer your questions and help you to grow in your faith and understanding, but if not us then please find another church.  If you let us know what area you are in we would be please to assist you by recommending one or two locally. This link may also helphttp://www.eauk.org/connect/find-a-church.cfm

I believe in God, but why do I need to go to Church?

The simple answer to the question is that, that is the way God planned it.  Jesus said ‘I will build my church’ Matthew16:18.  The word church was not a new word when He used it, is simply meant a group of people – His people, which He begun with the twelve disciples.  After Jesus resurrection and ascension the first church was begun in Jerusalem.  We read in Acts2 ‘ They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’.  The church was later persecuted and scattered throughout the land and new churches sprung up all over the place. Just as Jesus taught His disciples so He commanded them to ‘Go into all the world and make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Farther, the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to obey all I have commanded you’ (Matthew28 :19). The bible uses the picture of the body with Jesus as the head and his followers as the rest of the body (His hands and feet etc).  We all need each other to be an effective body, which is why we have church – we can’t all be hands or feet or eyes or noses!  The leg can’t say to the hand ‘I don’t need you’!  So just like the early church we meet together for teaching, prayer, fellowship and encouragement and to share in the breaking of bread.  If you are a believer and not part of a church you are depriving them of an essential body part! And yourself of the encouragement, teaching and fellowship we all need to be disciple of Jesus Christ.


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