LESSON 2: What is Christianity?

WHAT WE COVERED IN LESSON 1: Does God exist?

-The Bible says that God has revealed himself to us through what has been made. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1 If God does not exist then how else can you explain the scientific facts that are revealed in the Old Testament? Can we believe the Bible?

-The Bible has been proved historically accurate over and over again. 66 Books, about 40 authors, over 1600 years and still no real contradictions!

WHAT WE WANT TO COVER IN LESSON 2:

What is Christianity?
Overview of the Bible
Church History
Reformation Movement
Sections of this series.

WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY?

In simple terms, Christianity is the religion of those who are called Christians; "...and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26).

Acts 26:28: "Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"

1 Peter 4:16: "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."

A Christian is simply a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Those who believe in him also call Jesus the Christ or the Messiah. Why should anyone be a Christian? The answer to this question is that we all need salvation from our sin. To understand our need for salvation from sin, we must first see what it means to be a human being who is responsible and accountable before God Almighty. In the following lessons, we will see that and what God expects us to do about it.

OVERVIEW OF THE BIBLE

Two major divisions: The Old Law and the New Testament

The Old Law consists of 39 books, written mostly in Hebrew. The New Testament consists of 27 books written entirely in Greek. The word "Bible" means, "book" and consists of 66 books. About 40 different authors wrote these books, over approximately 1600 years.

Although the Bible was written over a long period, across many countries and by many different people, there are no contradictions in it. Conclusion: God inspired The Bible.

THE BIBLE CAN BE DIVIDED UP INTO THREE PERIODS.

1) Patriarchal Age
2) Mosaic Age
3) Christian Age

In the Patriarchal Age, God gave His laws through the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob). Some of the major events were:

-Garden of Eden Genesis 2:8
-Sin entered the World Genesis 3
-World filled with wickedness Genesis 6
-The Great Flood Genesis 6
-Abraham and Isaac Genesis 11:27
-(Nine generations after the flood.) Jacob and Joseph Genesis 35:22
-(Jacob had 12 sons, the youngest Joseph.) Joseph in Egypt Genesis 37
-Birth of Moses Exodus 2
-Exodus from Egypt Exodus 12:31

In the Mosaic Age, God Gave His laws through Moses. Some of the major events were:

-Wilderness Wandering Exodus 15:22
-Mount Sinai Exodus 19
-Tabernacle Exodus 25
-Canaan Numbers 33:51
-Judges Judges 2:16
-Kings 1 Samuel 8
-Divided Kingdom (Judah & Israel) 1 Kings 12
-Prophets Isaiah - Maliachi
-Birth of Jesus Matthew 1
-Ministry of Jesus Luke 3:23

In the Christian Age, God Gave His laws through Jesus Christ. These laws can be found in the New Testament. For easier understanding, I divide the New Testament into (5) sections.

1) Matthew, Mark, Luke & John (The Gospels) - Tells us about the life of Christ.
2) Acts - Tells us how to become a Christian and early church history (33-64 AD).
3) Epistles - Tell us how to live a Christian life.
4) Hebrews - Tells us that the New Testament is superior to the Old Law.
5) Revelation - Tells us that God will conquer evil.

THE BIBLE IS GODíS INSPIRED WORD.

2 Timothy 3:16 & 17 "All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

2 Peter 1: 20 & 21 "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophetís own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Galatians 1:11-12 "I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ."

WE ARE NEVER TO CHANGE THE WORD, WE ARE ONLY EXPECTED TO OBEY IT.

Deuteronomy 4:2 "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you."

Deuteronomy 12:32 " See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it."

Proverbs 30:6 "Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar."

Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, ĎLord, Lordí will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

Galatians 1:6-9 "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

Dig Deeper - Read 1 Chronicles 13: 7-10 Why would God strike someone dead who was obviously trying to do a good thing?

CHURCH HISTORY

With the new law in place, Christians were united in faith, doctrine (teaching) and practice. However, they were warned of things to come.

1 Timothy 4:1 "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."

2 Timothy 4:3,4 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

Hebrews 13:9 "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings."

These verses show that these forewarned changes have started!

Galatians 1:6-8 "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel Ė which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

Acts 20:28-31 "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears."

2 Timothy 4:2-4 "¼preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage -- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. As for you, always be steady,¼ "

REFORMATION MOVEMENT

About 1530 a man named Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, started what is referred to as the Reformation Movement. The leaders of this movement believed that the Bible, not the church or men, was the source of authority.

HOW MANY CHURCHES DID JESUS ESTABLISH?

Ephesians 1:22 and 4:4
Does the Bible say there is only one body (church) just as there is only one Lord? Yes or No

Colossians 1:18
Is Jesus the head of the body (church)? Yes or No

Matthew 16:18
Is Jesus promising to build more than one church? Yes or No

WHY DONíT WE USE THE OLD LAW TODAY INSTEAD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT?

Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

Colossians 2:14 says that God took away the old law, nailing it to the cross.

Hebrews 8:6-13 The new covenant is superior to the "old one." "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another." "¼ I will make a new covenant."

Romans 7:6 says we have been freed from the old written code.

Questions? Call the church office at 972-279-6186

God bless.

SECTIONS OF THIS SERIES:

Lesson 1: Does God exist?
Lesson 2: Overview of the Bible/Church History.
Lesson 3: How God Deals With Man?
Lesson 4: Who Is Jesus?
Lesson 5: The Message of the New Testament.
Lesson 6: Understanding Faith and Obedience.
Lesson 7: What Must I Do To Be Saved?
Lesson 8: Growing Together in Christ.