‘What do you believe’, I hear you say? Well…since you asked.
The Bible is utterly trustworthy and inspired by God.
It is enough for teaching us what to believe and how to live. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Bible. God is one God but three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (This is a mystery that we call the Trinity).
God made everything that exists, and he keeps it all going. Although men and women were made perfect in the beginning, they turned away from God.
Because of this, mankind is now ‘spiritually dead’, born sinful and completely unable to turn towards God – without the Holy Spirit giving life. We call this ‘regeneration’ and yes, you can impress your friends with this word.
Jesus Christ is fully God. He is the second member of the Trinity. He became fully human when he was born from a virgin.
Jesus Christ earned our way to heaven, our salvation. He did this through living a perfect life and then dying on the cross – fulfilling God’s perfect laws and paying the price for all our wrongdoing. He became our substitute and traded His perfection for our guilt. God punished Jesus instead. (This is called the Atonement).
Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day (not just spiritually but physically). There were many witnesses.
Soon afterwards Jesus was taken up to heaven where he is now ruling over everything and praying for his people. You and I can now receive – by faith (you know, trusting even though you can’t see) – the perfection of Jesus as a free gift. This means we can be completely forgiven for our wrongdoings and made right before God – even though we are sinners. (This is called justification). That’s good news eh?!
The Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus after his return to heaven. God didn’t just leave us on our own to work this out.
The Holy Spirit comforts, counsels, empowers and leads those who believe. He was the one who challenged us about our sin, bringing conviction. He then showed us Jesus as the answer. The answer to the separation from God that our wrongdoing caused. He also works to make believers more like Jesus. We have a big word for that too, it’s ‘sanctification.’ The Holy Spirit also gives believers gifts to help them serve God and other people.
Jesus is building a new community called the Church.
There is the universal church (all the Christians in the world) and the local church – a group of believers, in a particular area, who are committed to Jesus and to each other. The local church should bring in the rule of God (his Kingdom) wherever they are. God is worshipped and his word is preached. People are saved, the poor are cared for and sick people are healed.
People who have put their trust in Jesus are baptised in water as a sign of commitment to Jesus.
It is also a symbol of their ‘old life dying’ and being raised to a new life. The Lord’s Supper is also followed, to celebrate Jesus’ death. That’s the bread and wine by the way.