About this book…
The church is only as vital and strategic as its individual members. Fundamental to its growth is the ability of each one of us to live the Christian life. The tragedy is that many Christians struggle to understand the faith they profess to experience and find themselves asking questions like, ’Why doesn’t my Christian life work?’ and ’What’s wrong with the church?’
This book clearly and simply explains how the Christian life can be lived and enjoyed, and how we as God’s people can function effectively within His church.
It has been widely and successfully used in small group study situations.
Excerpts from this book…
Central to our understanding of the gospel is our understanding of the nature and character of God. If we have a distorted view of God we will certainly have a distorted view of the gospel, and God’s purposes for us and the church
Many Christians have a negative view of God, seeing Him as someone to be afraid of, who constantly demands what they cannot achieve, and then punishes them because they don’t! There are Christians who think the responsibility for achieving and maintaining their relationship with God rests on their own shoulders, and in their inevitable failure they feel frustration, condemnation and misery. Many view God as wrathful and vindictive, constantly inflicting bad things upon people in order to get His way. They live under a constant cloud of guilt and failure, feeling that no matter how hard they try to please God it will never be quite enough: they will never be completely acceptable to Him.
Why is it that so many Christians are not enjoying the full realisation of their forgiveness? Why do so many still live in a constant state of guilt and condemnation? Is forgiveness complete and absolute at conversion, or is it progressive? That is, is it applied to my past, present and future sin at conversion? Are we forgiven because we repent of our sin, or do we repent in response to the forgiveness already provided in Christ?
Christians now stand before God in a state of favour. They will never be more children of God than they were at the point of conversion.
Many Christians spend their lives trying to achieve what God has already done for them.
What yardstick do we use to measure spirituality? Is it measured by the fact that we don’t smoke, or cheat on our tax returns? Or by the fact that we are regular attenders at church activities, have a daily Quiet Time, witness every day, are involved in Christian work and are committed to missions, etc.? If these are the measure of spirituality then Saul the Pharisee would surely have qualified! The danger in thinking that these are a measure of spirituality is that we will see ourselves as having attained a certain status through what we have done and will therefore become self-righteous, thinking we are more spiritual than those who don’t ‘measure up’.
In the final analysis you cannot legislate for righteousness. Rules in themselves don’t motivate us to adopt right attitudes.
The danger is that we can be so taken up with new methods and programs that we lose sight of who and what we are and why we exist as the people of God. It was the quality of life seen in the believers rather than their methods and programs which enabled the early church to have such an impact upon the world. God’s primary methods are people. He has chosen to reveal Himself through His church to a lost world, and so we must be seen to be the authentic people of God.
True fellowship is not on the grounds of mutual theological convictions.
Isn’t it true that many Christians are unsure of how to effectively pray, and
a) unconvinced of the effectiveness of prayer at all?
b) frequently we merely go through the motions of saying prayers, rather than really praying?
In the final analysis, effective outreach will be the consequence of what is happening in the lives of Christians and not of how well trained they are. Indeed, if Christians are aware of a lack of reality in their own personal lives, no amount of training will be a substitute or provide lasting motivation.