Bethel is an evangelical church. This simply means that we are a church which preaches the good news from the Bible. The Bible tells us that although God created a perfect world, things are clearly not perfect any more. There’s one reason for that – us. The real question isn’t “What’s wrong with the world?”. The real question is “What’s wrong with us?”
The Bible teaches us that God created the whole universe, and that he cares deeply about what goes on in this world. Although he created a perfect world, he also created men and women with the ability to choose for themselves, and tragically, much of the time we choose the wrong things. There are obvious ‘sins’ like murder and rape, but the Bible teaches us not just to point the finger at other people, but to look at ourselves too. Even though we may not be as bad as some, everyone of us is far worse than we should be, and none of us is perfect. As a result, not one of us can go to heaven, because heaven is a perfect place.
Thankfully, when God created us, he knew that we would need saving from ourselves. So he planned an amazing rescue. He knew that sin would need to be punished – you just can’t brush it under the carpet, and pretend it didn’t happen. He also knew that we could never bear the punishment for our own sin. Our sins are too many, and too serious for that. So God sent his only son, the Lord Jesus Christ down to this earth. He lived an absolutely perfect life – he never did, thought, or said anything that was wrong. But despite that he was executed as if he was a criminal.
The Bible explains the reason for that – Jesus didn’t die because of the wrong things that HE had done, but because of the wrong things that WE have done. He died in our place, that is, he paid the penalty for sin of all those who put their trust in him. Because Jesus has been punished in my place, there is now no longer any punishment for me – even though I deserve it. When I die, I’m able to live for ever in Heaven, because of Jesus’ death. Three days after he died, Jesus rose from the dead – he conquered death – and is now in Heaven.
That’s what a Christian is – someone who realises that they have offended God, and do not deserve to live with Him in Heaven, and yet has trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. If you would like to know more about what the Bible says a Christian is, and hear some of these truths explained in more detail, one of the sermons below might help. Both sermons last for just over 30 minutes.
How do you live as a Christian?
The sermon explains part of the Bible found in Romans 3:20-28 (see below). It looks at whether living as a Christian is about what you believe, or about what you do.
20Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished 26—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
What’s so important about Jesus’ death?
The sermon was preached on Easter Sunday, 2008. It looks at the story of Jesus’ death from Matthew 26-28, and shows how the death of Jesus was not just a tragic accident, but the most important thing that the Bible tells us about.