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Welcome and thank you for checking out Living A True Christian Life. These messages are designed to introduce you to how Christianity used to be preached and practiced. These aren’t going to be long drawn-out lectures or pulpit pounding messages. I believe that if I can’t get what I want to say across in less than 20 minutes, then I’ve missed the mark and you’ll be bored to tears..
But what does going back to how Christianity used to be preached and practiced mean? Well it means that by going back to our roots, we can focus on how we can actually begin Living a True Christian Life.
You see, back in the day, and I mean way back in the day, before Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, Christians behaved quite differently than many do now. In those days it wasn’t about power and money and prestige. It was about telling people about the good news. It was about people sharing their stories, sharing their lives, and taking care of each other. Once the church became an official part of the government, well, as my daddy used to say, things went to hell in a handbasket. Greed took over. Shoot in many cases, the 7 deadly sins are not something to be avoided, they’ve become life goals. But I’ll talk about those things later on. Who were those early Christians and what did they believe?
Strange as it may seem, they believed a lot of different things. They all believe that Jesus had rose from the grave, but they differed on some other key points. Now it’s not my intention to go over every difference, just suffice it to say, that there wasn’t some generally accepted set of beliefs. In fact, the Bible that most Protestants use wasn’t put together until 1546 and that’s a good 1500 years after Jesus walked the earth. Now about 170 AD a man name Marcon put together what he considered to be the real scriptures, but those were heavily edited, and he left out some significant writings. The early Apostolic fathers, not necessarily the Apostles themselves, but the ones they taught also wrote letters. These include the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistles of Clement, as well as the Didache.
The Didache is one of the coolest early Christian writings you’re ever going to see. Unfortunately, once the Roman Church got control they destroyed a great deal of early writings. But parts survived and it starts, “There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, your neighbour as yourself; and all things whatsoever you would should not occur to you, do not also do to another. And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there, if you love those who love you?” Sounds familiar doesn’t it? You see the earliest Christians focused on following what Jesus taught. At the same time, they were under threat of persecution. Real persecution, not the phony persecution American Christians claim to be under. The original Christians could be put to death for practicing their faith. But how did they actually practice it?
Well, around 110 AD, the Roman Governor of what is now Turkey was Pliny the Younger. He had run into Christians and really had no issue with them, except they had begun to disrupt the economy. They did this by not buying idols and the other items Romans used to show devotion to the Emperor. So Pliny decided to write to the emperor Trajan to ask him what to do. In his letter, this is how he described Christians. “They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food–but ordinary and innocent food.”
The early Christians met in fellowship, and to reaffirm their belief in Jesus and to do the right thing and to live the right way. You see, once you begin to accept the real message of Jesus, then living a true Christian life becomes easier. It’s not power, it’s not about greed, it’s not about hating those who we don’t agree with. It’s all about bringing the spirit into our lives and turning ourselves into a light that others can see. The messages I’m going to bring to this program will focus on helping everyone get to the point where we’re able to overcome any of the issues and obstacles we might face in our daily lives.
So join me and let’s talk about Living A True Christian Life. Thank you and God bless.
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