The text below is the reproduction of a message delivered by Dr R T Kendall, and used by kind permission of Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate, London.
What is Christianity?
The central theme of Christianity is God's love for you and for all people. This love was revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You should really know what Christianity is, because a Christian ought to have told you by now. But if he or she hasn't told you, you should know because this answers the most important question you will ever face - in life or in death.
Life or Death Question
Why? Because you are not ready to live until you are ready to die. Christianity is essentially concerned about your death, because "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life though Jesus Christ" (Romans 6:23). We are all going to die - for one reason: because we are all sinners. Our sin is our unbelief, our pride and our rebellion against God our creator.
Approximately 2000 years ago, several yards outside the walled city of Jerusalem, Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead. It is difficult to say which was the more extraordinary - His death on the cross or His resurrection. Since the cause of death is sin, Jesus ought not to have died; because He never sinned. The reason that Jesus died, however, is that our sins were laid on Him - who took them as though they were His very own. God charged Jesus with our sins instead - and therefore punished Him. That is why He died. But on the third day after His death He was raised without any decay. His resurrection became known as the "first fruits" of all who are dead (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Jesus Himself put it, "Because I live, you will live also" (John 14:19).
And yet you should know that after your own death you will be summoned before the bar of God. This is called the Last Judgement.
"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sin of many people, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." (Hebrews 9:27-28)
Therefore all the dead, "great and small", will stand before God to give an account of the way they lived in the world (Revelation 20:12).
Of Ultimate Importance
You are one of those who will stand before God. So am I. It is a most terrible and sobering thought. It is the only thought in the world that ultimately matters. Everything else that is on your mind at this moment cannot possibly be as important as this question: am I ready to die?
I fear that you are not ready to die. And there is one more thing I must tell you. As the Last Judgement follows death, so an everlasting Hell follows the Last Judgement. Hell is a place of never-ending torment where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:50) and 'the fire is not quenched' (Mark 9:48b).
And yet I am so very happy that I can tell you that you need not go to Hell. I certainly do not want you to go there. For I too am a sinner like you. But I am not going there, I am happy to say, and I know this so definitely that I write these words for your benefit. You need not go there because God has made a way for your escape - your own salvation and deliverance.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
You may escape Hell only be believing in Jesus Christ now - in advance of the Judgement. It will be too late to believe in Jesus then, for seeing is not believing. You will see Him then; you may believe Him now. To believe Him now means to honour Jesus Christ for what He did 2000 years ago.
You may ask: how do I honour Jesus Christ? Answer: admit that your sins were laid on Jesus. Tell God this. Acknowledge your unbelief, pride and rebellion to God, and thank Him for sending His only Son. Pray this prayer:
Heavenly Father, I have sinned against you and I am truly sorry for my sins. Wash away all my sins by Jesus' blood. I acknowledge that He is your one and only Son. I now invite Jesus to live in my heart as my Lord and Saviour. I welcome your Holy Spirit. As best as I know how I give you my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
When you believe truly in Jesus you will be given an assurance of pardon - it is a peace within that your sins are forgiven.
Do not be surprised if your ways change - that is your usual habits, your attitude and your way of thinking. There is a reason for this. You are now governed by a different 'master' for when Jesus becomes your Saviour He also becomes your Lord. Your sovereign. Your only guide.
If you are making a commitment to Christ today, please let us know by emailing as at email@example.com. We would like to send you some Bible study materials to help you grow in your faith.
What is written above is a description of the 'essence' of Christianity. For further information about Christianity please contact us and/or read the following books and/or visit the following websites:
- Lee Strobel, 'The Case for Christ' (1998)
- Lee Strobel, 'The Case for Faith' (2000)
- Josh McDowell, 'The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict' (1999)
- Philip Yancey, 'The Jesus I Never Knew' (2002)