The True Christian Life
|Jesus told Nicodemus, "Ye must be born
again." Read also the essay called "Complete in
Christ" and another called "What It Means to Be Born
Read John Chapter 3 on Jesus' discourse with Nicodemus on the subject.
Jesus came to earth to save men from their sins. He died at the Cross, was buried, and three days later He was resurrected and ascended back to the Father where He carried His own blood to offer as a sacrifice to take away our sins. In order for us to appropriate that sacrifice unto ourselves, it is necessary that we repent of our sin, come to faith in Christ and receive Him unto ourselves as Lord and Savior. Many have attempted to make him Savior without also making Him Lord. However, the two go together, as explained in many places in the New Testament.
Jesus told His disciples, "I must go away; but when I do I will send another comforter (or counselor, or helper.) Read about the sending of the promised Holy Spirit in John Chapters 15 - 17.
When Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives ready to ascend back to Heaven, He told His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit come upon you. "Ye shall receive power," He said. "after the Holy Ghost has come upon you." Read Acts 1:1-11
The Christian life is about getting saved through repentance and faith in the Cross, and then progressing into maturity in the faith. It is about being born again and then allowing the Holy Spirit, now living in you, to teach you and keep you on the path and in the light. Paul said, "Christ in you, your hope of Glory." (Col. 1:27)
Romans 8:9 says that if one does not have the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) he is none of his.
1 John 2:27 says that, once we are saved, we need no man to teach us but that we ourselves have the anointing (Spirit.) Teachers are a ministry gift given by Christ to the Church; however Christian teachers must know the way they are called to teach. They are not called to instruct the minds of believers in principles to obey. They are not called to play God to the believer. They are called to teach the Word in a manner that leads believers to a closer walk with Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, as Savior, Lord and Teacher!
The church is given by God so that Christians may walk, learn and grow together in the Lord. The church is not an institution that exists as a dynasty for a man or a collective group of men to manipulate and control others. The church is not an institution of the world; it is God's institution. There is only one church -- the Body of Christ. It is made up of all of those individuals who have come into a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians are to learn to serve one another in the church. And service to one another is service to the Lord.
We need fellowship with other believers, study of the Word and the Spirit-led life to grow in the Christian life. We need to pray; but our principle need is to study to show ourselves approved and learn to follow the leading of the Spirit in all matters.
If the Spirit is the Teacher, and He is, He is the one Who brings unity and purpose to the Body. When all Christians learn to obey Him individually, they will also be obeying collectively, because only He knows each person's role in the Body. When this comes fully to fruition, we will not have to argue over ministry gifts, submission in the church, doctrine, or anything else. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ and Him only. When there is true Holy Spirit conviction, men will not seek to glorify themselves or manipulate and control the flock.
If you are a Christian, Jesus is your Good Shepherd, not man. In John 10 He speaks of being the Good Shepherd of the flock and just what it means. Read the chapter in its entirety.
Error in Christianity -- both Protestant and Catholic -- has led many to believe that the local church must lead the flock, and they have attempted to do it mainly through legalism, whether they call it that or not. The local church is certainly necessary; but leaders must come to understand fully that the flock -- individually and collectively -- is to be led by the Good Shepherd. Of course there must be leaders in the local body, but the flock -- fully led by the Good Shepherd -- will freely submit to the leaders in the operation of the temporal affairs of the church, not in spiritual matters where the Good Shepherd is to lead in the individual's own heart. The leaders of the local body have no power over the flock, other than to preach and teach Christ, and help lead the flock to a closer walk with Him.
There is much confusion over this subject in Christianity, which can be divided into two main camps: True Christianity is focused on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. False Christianity is focused on Jesus Christ as Savior and men and institutions as Lord. Get this: Merely to say Jesus is your Lord does not make it so. If He is really Lord, He is in your heart by His Spirit, you want to please Him, and you study and pray and seek to please Him in all that you do.
Remember, man does not join a church in order to join Christ. Man is joined to Christ (it is Christ that does the joining) through faith in the Cross and atoning work of Christ, and as a result Christ places him in the Church -- the Body of Christ. This is fulfilled in "Ye must be born again!"