Question: What is necessary for salvation?
Answer: Faith. But not faith in faith, but faith that the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins on the cross is sufficient to save us. A few important verses to consider when we are trying to answer this question.
It is only through Christ that we are saved. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
We are saved when we confess and believe. Romans 10:9 if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Faith is what we need. Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Question: Why do Christians talk so much about grace?
Answer: Because, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Our salvation must be unmerited if it is to be sufficient. If there is anything that we must do other than believe then we would always need to ask if we have done enough. If salvation was to be based in our merit or worthiness then we would be without hope.
But it was because of our helplessness that God sent his son (John 3:16) to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:6-10)
Question: Why should I join a local church?
Answer: A church is the local expression of Christ’s presence in a community. It is important for believers to be in regular fellowship with others regardless of if they choose to be formal members. But, why it is important for individuals to not merely attend a local church but to also consider becoming an official members of a local church?
Because of past experiences, we can pause at the word membership. But whether you call it “membership,” “partnership,” or something else, the New Testament assumes that some form of committed, accountable belonging to be a reality for every true follower of Jesus. Each Christian is to have a definite place of local belonging. Consider some reasons why membership may be worth your consideration.
First, Jesus established the church to be a public, earthly institution that would mark out, affirm, and oversee those who profess to believe in him (Matt. 16:18-19, 18:15-20). Jesus established the church to publicly declare those who belong to him in order to give the world a display of the good news about himself (John 17:21, 23; see also Eph. 3:10). Jesus wants the world to know who belongs to him and who doesn’t. The local church is God's way that this is accomplished. They are to see which people publicly identify themselves with his people in the visible, public institution he established for this very purpose. When people claim to be part of the universal church even though they belong to no local church, they oppose Jesus’ plan for them and his church. Jesus intends for his people to be marked out as a visible, public group, which is accomplished through fellowshipping together in local churches.
Secondly, joining a local church places ourselves under the spiritual care of those who God as called to assist us in our faith,
Hebrews 13:17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
This will commonly be done for our sake and for the sake of the fellowship. How can we obey the scriptural commands to submit to your leaders without giving them the authority that comes through membership.
One could argue that these can be done without formally joining the local church, and it is for this reason that CVBF does not push membership on those who desire to enter into a committed relationship without formally joining. However, it should be noted that unless one is a formal member, there are limitations on how they may serve at CVBF. Formal membership is requested of all who desire to serve in the church putting themselves under the authority of the church’s elders. At CVBF we will always allow non-members to have a voice in every congregational decision, but legally, the authority for all financial and leadership decisions belong with formal members.
Question: Why should we trust the Bible? What are the evidences?
Answer: This is an important question to consider; one that cannot be answered in just a few sentences, but let me offer a few words. A good source for more information is FF Bruce’s "New Testament Documents: Are they reliable?" (written in 1959 prior to any modern archaeological finds) Here are some of his points:
• The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which none dream of questioning. (He argues that it should be since its claims are greater)
• There are in existence about 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in whole or in part. The best and most important go back to somewhere about 350 AD. The two most important being the Codex Vaticanus, the chief treasure of the Vatican Library in Rome, and the well known Codex Sinaticus.
• In addition to these two excellent manuscripts, which are some of the earliest known to us, considerable fragments remain of papyrus copies of books of the NT dated from 100 to 200 years earlier... Earlier still is a fragment of John's Gospel dated at 130 AD.
• Fortunately, if the great number of MSS increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably very small.
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