RACIAL & GOSPEL UNITY
In the history of the church in America, Christians have often stayed silent in the face of injustice, allowing evil to rule, even when it caused great harm to both our fellow man and our witness as ambassadors of Christ. With those past failures in mind, the Elders of City Church Melissa feel it necessary to forcefully call out a sin that has haunted our nation from its inception and the more subtle expressions that weaken our witness to our city even now.
The altar call began in the mid to late 1700s as a way for pastors to talk to and counsel those in the service who were considering becoming a Christian. At the end of the sermon, the pastor would ask if any in the congregation wanted to accept Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior. After raising their hand in affirmation, often they would come down to the front and recite the sinners’ prayer upon which they would be counted as a born-again believer.
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
It is unfortunately not uncommon for us to have friends or family members who seemingly cease to be a Christian. We tend to say that they have lost their faith and fallen back into a lifestyle of sin. If this is indeed what has happened – that an individual was saved and is no longer saved – Christians have reason to be concerned, not just for our now unbelieving friend but for ourselves as well.
GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
Any person who belongs to Christ, who has saving faith in him, has the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9). Indeed, it is the Spirit who opened his or her heart to accept the atoning work of Christ and who now dwells in every believer (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).
On the cross, Jesus Christ became sin in humanity’s place, although he had never known sin, in order that individuals might overcome death with the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). His vicarious death forgives and rids people of sin in order to have a right relationship with the Father. They are justified, redeemed, reconciled, and adopted. This is the church: the communion of saints gathered to worship God and witness in the world to his glory.
In the Old Testament, we sense that things are not as they should be. God created a good world; everything was in order as it should have been, ruled by the Sovereign Lord. But our first parents (Adam and Eve) rebelled against God and brought sin and death and corruption into the world by their disobedience. They could no longer stay in communion with God, and their relationship with one another would suffer as well. This is the state all humans find themselves in: They are spiritually dead, unable to do anything to restore their relationship with God, and injustice, fighting, and suffering still marks this world. Humans are characterized by sin.
Other than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, very few stories or teachings are present in all four Gospels. The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist stands apart as one of the few passages shared among all the Gospels in one form or another (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34), highlighting its major significance. Several questions should be answered after realizing the significance of this event.