If you’re new to your faith in Christ or to church attendance, you’re probably confused about Christianity in America. You’re not alone. Most people aren’t sure what to think about our current mix of politics and religion. Thankfully, being either a Democrat or a Republican is not a sign of your faith or lack of it, though your belief in Christ does shape your political decisions.
New York City pastor and author Timothy Keller recently addressed the challenges American Christianity faces today. “Thoughtful Christians, all trying to obey God’s call, could reasonably appear at different places on the political spectrum, with loyalties to different political strategies,” Keller wrote.
To read this New York Times article by Keller: click here. See how your faith can show in your practices and voting.
Today, it’s often difficult for American Christians to know how to practice our faith or even why church attendance is important. The Bible contains several passages that tell us how and why we attend church. Let’s start there.Today, it's often difficult for American Christians to know how to practice our faith or even why church attendance is important. The Bible contains several passages that tell us how and why... Click To Tweet
“’Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’” (Acts 2:38-40 NIV).
These are the simple steps for beginning the Christian life. Belief in Christ as Lord and the actions listed above and below are still the model for living the Christian life.
“Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, communion), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (Acts 2:41-47 NLT).
This is the norm. These are still our practices.
Christian life is still to be lived in supportive, family-like fellowship and community known for our strong faith, worship, and Biblical teaching, not for our political affiliations.
We are to remember Christ in regular communion (Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper), as well as by acts of love, kindness, and generosity.
If we live like this, we do well.Christian life is to be lived in supportive, family-like fellowship and community known for our strong faith, worship, and Biblical teaching. We are to remember Christ in regular communion, as well as by acts of love, kindness, and generosity. Click To Tweet
The church was birthed amid great persecution in the first century. Politics of the time actually caused problems in the church, as is usually the case. This spread believers across the known world as families moved to safer locations. Many Jewish believers in Christ considered leaving their newfound faith to return to Judaism, because they feared losing their property and their businesses. But the Holy Spirit inspired the author of Hebrews to tell them that, since we have all we need in Jesus and his sacrifice, we should instead live like this:
- “Let us draw near to God with a heart full of assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (baptism).
- “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
- “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
- “NOT neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
- BUT encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day (of Christ’s return) drawing near. (Hebrews 10:22-25 ESV).
These lessons are still applicable today. In light of these instructions, our personal application and faithfulness looks like this even today:
Faith in Christ includes habitual confession and repentance of our daily sins and maintaining a clean conscience. This is normal Christianity.
Practicing love, charity, purity, and service to others is still the Christian norm.
Drawing near to God in relationship and having full assurance that we are forgiven and that we belong to him is still our practice.
We hold unwaveringly to our hope in Christ, because he is faithful to us.
Commitment to regular church attendance is still vital.
Encouraging one another by our faithful attendance and our fellowship with one another is still how we show love to one another.
Still today, we encourage one another to rely on Christ and to serve him with good deeds of kindness, charity, and faithful commitment to our churches.
These instructions are how and why Christians meet together. Nothing has changed. It still has nothing to do with political affiliations. This is still the recipe for healthy individual growth and healthy churches.
Do we know and follow these simple instructions?
By the grace of God, let’s adhere to our faith by living out this type of loving, integrated, fellowship-filled lifestyle of community. Following Jesus, rather than a political party, is supreme. Love for Christ and obedience to him, rather than to party platforms, is still what guides all our decisions, including the political ones. The church is the body of Christ – his hands and feet on the earth. The church is led by Jesus, not by a political party.By the grace of God, let's adhere to our faith by living out this type of loving, integrated, fellowship-filled lifestyle of community. Following Jesus, rather than a political party, is supreme. Click To Tweet
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