In the next 13 weeks, the Church of the Nazarene is encouraging its churches in North America to deepen its connection with God and each other through daily readings of God’s Word. Each of the 13 weeks has a main theme. I will be doing a weekly blog which will be discussing at least a couple of the relevant Scripture passages for that week.
The Centrality of Christ’s Person and Work
Several of the readings this week focus on the Person of Jesus Christ. This is not surprising considering that we are a Christian Church. One of the Christian faith’s foundational beliefs is that Jesus Christ is radically unique in His personhood.
We believe that he perfectly unites in his person, a human nature and a divine nature. Or as the Apostle Peter confessed in Mathew 16:16 “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus replied: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Mathew 16:17). The mystery of Jesus’ person was something that man could not figure out on his own , but it was truth that needed to be revealed by God’s Spirit to the Church (John 1:1,2,14; Philippians 2:5-11; Heb. 1:1-8).
Another foundational belief of the Christian faith is that Christ died for our sins and that we are reconciled to God through this unique act of atonement (John 14:6,7; 2Cor. 5:18-21). When we trust in Christ and his work on the cross, we receive forgiveness of sins and the indwelling Holy Spirit. At conversion, we are regenerated or made alive spiritually by the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 5:24;Romans 8:9; Gal. 4:4-7).
Responding to Christ’s Person and Work
These are core beliefs that every Christian Church and denomination are based on. In response to what God has done in Christ for us, we are called to worship God with our whole being (Psalm 150). This is a priority that has characterized the Church of the Nazarene throughout its existence. Another vital aspect of the Church’s ministry is the urgent call to every human being to trust Christ and be reconciled to God. Paul’s plea in 2 Corinthians 5:20 is as relevant as ever: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” We believe in the need for conversion and the need for a spiritual rebirth in every person’s life.
From the birth of the Church of the Nazarene over a hundred years ago, compassionate ministries has been a big part of our congregational life. In James 1:27 we read these words:“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Whether it is in Bangladesh or in an American inner city, Nazarenes have always sought to show God’s love in Christ in practical ways. We are committed to sharing Christ’s mercy and grace both in word and deed. This is another vital part of our response to what God has done for us in Christ.
QOTD: Do you possess the living hope of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” ? Have you trusted Christ?