Presentation on theme: "Woodcliff Community Reformed Church. Agenda Our Faith What Does it Mean to be a Christian? Your Personal Relationship with God The Church The Reformed."— Presentation transcript:
Agenda Our Faith What Does it Mean to be a Christian? Your Personal Relationship with God The Church The Reformed Church in America Reformed Theology What Do We Believe? Woodcliff Community Reformed Church Becoming a Member
Basic Christian Beliefs God created all that is seen and unseen There is only one God Jesus is the Son of God and is One with God Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary Jesus suffered and was crucified Jesus died and was buried Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins Jesus rose again (the Resurrection) Jesus ascended into Heaven Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead The Bible is the Word of God
What is Christianity? Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as revealed in The Bible. We believe Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He died on a cross according to God’s plan, as full sacrifice and payment for the sins of humanity. Three days later he rose from the dead. He ascended into Heaven. Jesus will come again visibly and physically at the end of time to establish God’s kingdom and judge the world. Believing these truths about Jesus is the only way to salvation and eternal life. Christianity is not just something we do, but something Jesus did for us. Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.“ Christianity is not intended to make us better people; Jesus makes us new people. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Christianity is not a Sunday affair. It is who we are 24/7. Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
What is Christianity? Christianity is not just a way of life to be practiced - it is a gift of life to be nurtured. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Christianity is not earned through good works. Its a free gift. Ephesians 4:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Christianity is not a philosophy or outlook on life, its looking to a living Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.“ Christianity is not brain-washing, but the washing away of sins in Jesus blood. 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.“
What is Christianity? Christianity is not a bunch of do's and don'ts. It is love, life and liberty through Jesus Christ. Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Christianity is not always an easy walk but an eternally rewarding one. Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Christianity is not something hidden, private or kept personal, it is something that shows. Matthew 5:14 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Christianity is not one of many possible religious options. Jesus is the only way! John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." 1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
What is Christianity? Christianity is not denying reality, but debunking deception and discovering true reality. Titus 3:3 "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.” Christianity is not dependent on race, color, sex or background. All are one in Jesus. Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Christianity is not an excuse for our sins, but freedom from servitude to sin. Romans 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Christianity is not just for the life hereafter, but life in abundance here and now. John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Christianity is not primarily churchgoing, ceremonies, creeds or conduct. It is Christ in you. Colossians 1:27 "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”
What is Christianity? Christianity is not a new religion, it is fulfillment of the promises made to Adam & Abraham. John 8:58 "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Christianity is not about getting smart, its about getting a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."
Reformed Theology Centered on God Based on God's Word alone Committed to faith alone Devoted to Jesus Christ Structured by three covenants (redemption, works and grace)
Reformed Theology Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone Solo Christo! By Christ's Work Alone are We Saved Sola Gratia: Salvation by Grace Alone Sola Fide: Justification by Faith Alone
Reformed Theology The five points of Calvinism (TULIP) are:- Total Depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints.
Our Beliefs Above all, our faith is centered in Christ. Every need of ours finds its answer in Jesus Christ. The final authority in the Reformed faith is Holy Scripture, the living Word of God, spoken to everyone through the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and makes it real and actual in our lives. This has always been and will always be the authentic wellspring of Reformed faith. Two sacraments: Communion and Baptism Three historic documents--the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort Three historic creeds--the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed
Belgic Confession Its chief author was Guido de Brès, a preacher of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567. During the sixteenth century the churches in this country were exposed to the most terrible persecution by the Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were no rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Brès prepared this Confession in the year 1561. In the following year a copy was sent to king Philip II, together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would ‘‘offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire,’’ rather than deny the truth expressed in this Confession.
Heidelberg Catechism The Heidelberg, or Palatinate, Catechism was written in Heidelberg, Germany by theologians Caspar Olevianus and Zacharias Ursinus. It was commissioned by Frederick III, Elector of the Palatinate, and published in 1563. It was later divided into 52 "Lord's Days" for the purpose of catechetical instruction in worship services each Sunday of the Year. The Heidelberg Catechism has been translated into many languages. After Lord's Day 1, The Heildelberg Catechism is divided into three sections, the first relating to the sin and misery of man, the second relating to how man is delivered from this sin and misery, and the third relating to how man can express gratitude for such deliverance. Another way to think of these three sections is in terms of 1.Guilt, 2.Grace, and 3.Gratitude or 1.Sin, 2.Salvation, and 3.Service.
Canons of Dordt The Decision of the Synod of Dordt on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Netherlands is popularly known as the Canons of Dordt (or the Five Articles Against the Remonstrants). It consists of statements of doctrine adopted by the great Synod of Dordt which met in the city of Dordrecht in 1618-1619. Although this was a national Synod of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, it had an international character, since it was composed not only of sixty-two Dutch delegates, but also of twenty-seven foreign delegates representing eight countries.
An Introduction to RCA Polity and History The Structure for Ministry From the Book of Church Order preamble: Since the whole church cannot meet together at one time and place to deliberate, representative governing bodies must be established on the various levels…[On a representative basis] the lines of authority in the Reformed Churches move from the local church to the General Synod. This is so since Christ, according to the New Testament, has appointed officers to govern the church under himself. Their authority to govern derives from him even though they are elected by the people. The local churches together delegate authority to classes and synods, and having done so, they also bind themselves to be subject together to these larger bodies in all matters in which the common interests of the many churches are objects of concern.
Structure for Ministry General Synod Regional Synods Classes Congregations Consistory General Synod Regional Synods Classes Congregations
The Consistory & Four Offices of the RCA: Where do they fit in the structure and what do they do? Deacon…Provide ministries of mercy, service, and outreach, and material maintenance. Elder…Guide and nurture the ministry of the church through government, discipline, spiritual growth, and pastoral care. Minister of Word and Sacrament…Called to preach and teach the Word of God, administer the sacraments, and care for the flock Professor of Theology…Responsible for sound doctrine of the denomination and the education of ministerial students The Consistory consists of the three offices of elder, deacon, and minister of Word and Sacrament.
The Role of Deacons The Greek word for deacon, diakonos, means servant, helper, or waiter. The office of the deacon is one of servanthood and service after the example of Christ. As leaders in ministries of mercy, service, and outreach in congregations, deacons must provide links between needs and the resources to meet those needs. That involves two major factors: Seeking Out Needs Seeking Out Resources
The Role of Deacons “The board of deacons shall serve those in distress and need. The deacons shall minister to the sick, the poor, the hurt, and the helpless, shall aid the victims of the world’s abuse, and shall express the social concerns of the church. They shall oversee and carry out their work as those concerned with the redemption of humankind. Their focus is turned toward service and ministry both to the world and in the church?” (Book of Church Order, 1.I.6 p.19).
The Role of Deacons In short, deacons are people who follow the example of Jesus Christ by taking the basin and towel in service of others. They do this by… Manifesting Christ’s love Gathering and distributing offerings Assisting in worship Exercising careful stewardship
The Role of Elders In the Old Testament, the word for elder literally means “a full, gray beard,” while in the New Testament, the term persbuteros means elder or older or bishop or overseer. “Scripture teaches that those chosen to the office of elder are called along with the pastors to encourage spiritual growth among the members and help them to walk in the way of Christ”
The Role of Elders What are Some Ways Elders Can Guide and Nurture God’s People in the Way of Christ? Discipline/Discipling Means of Grace Membership Standards Membership Categories & Definitions
The Role of Elders In the local church, elders… Have supervision of the church entrusted to them. Have charge of all matters relating to the welfare and good order of the church. Have oversight over the conduct of the members of the congregation and seek to bring that conduct into conformity with the Word of God. Have exercise and oversight over the conduct of one another, of the deacons, and of the minister(s). Make certain that what is preached and taught by the minister/s is in accord with the Holy Scripture. Assist the minister(s) with their good counsel and in the task of visitation. Seek to guard the sacraments of the church from being profaned. May administer the sacraments if authorized by the board of elders. Pray and study the Scriptures. Supervise the membership of the church.
Responsibilities of Church Members Serving. There is a place of service awaiting you somewhere in the church. God has given you a talent to be used. This may include teaching Sunday school, visiting the sick, leading youth groups, singing in the choir, and working on committees. Learning. Anyone who helps others must first develop a growing faith and be able to articulate it. Participating in Bible study groups and developing the habit of daily Bible study are ways to continue learning about the character of God. Giving. You are expected to do your fair share in supporting the budget of your church's ministry. You should give freely and cheerfully without any thought of reward. Your giving should be systematic and proportionate to your income, not giving what you can spare, but according to what God has entrusted to you. Give to the best of your ability, for giving is a way you can take part in spreading the Gospel.
Responsibilities of Church Members Witnessing. "You will be my witnesses," said Jesus, "in Jerusalem [that is, at home], in all Judea and Samaria [the surrounding areas], and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). At the same time that Jesus commissioned His disciples He set forth your responsibility to spread the gospel everywhere. This does not mean you have to stand on street corners reading scripture, but you can be an effective witness to friends, co-workers, and family members. Praying. The highest and deepest benefit you can receive from prayer is strength and courage to live triumphantly each day. Start the practice of daily prayer at a time that is best for you. The worth of a prayer is not determined by its grammatical correctness, but by its sincerity. The main thing is to speak with God about the things that trouble, delight, or confuse you. Be persistent in your requests, turning your petitions to align with God's will. Worshipping. Worship keeps your soul, and the soul of your church, alive. Your church is set in your community to shine as a lighthouse for Jesus Christ and will shine as long as its members remain faithful in the matter of public worship. When people of God begin to forsake the house of God on the Lord's Day, God's work begins to languish and the light begins to fail. When conflicts arise on Sunday morning, ask yourself, Does this have to keep me from church? The Meaning of Church Membership by Wayne C. Clark. Copyright 1950, (c) 1992 by Judson Press, Valley Forge, Pa., 1-800-458-3766.
Serving: Spiritual Gifts I Corinthians 12 and 14 Romans 12 Ephesians 4 1 Peter 4 Taking the Test: Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts