Christianity: The Origin, Purpose Research Paper

Pages: 9 (3362 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
..and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

In other words, the primary distinction between Christians and Jews is a belief in Jesus Christ. More specifically, the fact that he died and rose from the dead. All that someone must do to be "saved" into the Christian faith is believe.

Once belief is accomplished, the results and changes in people's lives, according to Acts are substantial. An excellent example of this is the conversion of Peter from prepentacostal Peter to post-penticostal Peter:Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Paper on Christianity: The Origin, Purpose, and Assignment

But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him." A little later, another saw him and said, "You are one of them too!" But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, "Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too." But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about." Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly...Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead -- by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, "What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name." And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard."...They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

As can be seen, Peter's boldness was clearly attributed to the entry of the Holy Spirit, which changed his fear into courage and made the gospel message clear in his mind. Another example of the dramatic conversion process was that of Paul. Paul was initially the primary persecutor of Jews. In fact, the book of Acts clearly points out his active role in stoning the first martyr, Stephan; however his fate changed when according to Acts he was met and blinded on the road by Jesus who explains his new purpose and changes his name from "Saul" to "Paul." After which point, Paul becomes the greatest advocate for Christianity and succeeds in spreading it to the Gentiles.

There are also, however, accounts of people in Acts who pretend to be Christians in an attempt to obtain the Holy Spirit's power for their own gain. One such account is that of Simon the Sorcerer:

Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, "This man is what is called the Great Power of God." And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity." But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

As can be seen, simply being baptized in water did not create a Christian, rather it was again a heart issue and one of belief. Even more, it was obvious to the apostles that Simon was not a believer and was therefor not permitted to participate in the Church until his heart was right.

The Purpose of Christianity According to the Book of Acts

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave a very specific mission to his apostles. The great commission states that the apostles were to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you"

The book of Acts expands on this mission and dictates all that Jesus' great commission entails for Christians. According to Acts, "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

This idea is expanded in Hebrews to say, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

So, according to the early Christians, Christianity entails a willingness of boldly proclaim the gospel, a firm stance of one's faith, to the point of never changing one's viewpoint or denying it, fellowship with other believers, and nurturing fellow believers. Another area that the New Testament specifies both within the life of Jesus and the Book of Acts is to go out to the world and help those in need including orphans and widows.

Conclusions

For those who believe in Christ and the truths of the Bible, the requirements and words given in Acts are just as applicable today as they were 2,000 years ago. Yet today many modern churches neglect the needs of their own congregations and most "Christians" will not even share their faith a single time within their life.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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