Interested in making First Reformed Church your congregational home? Check out the orientation packet below. Inside, you’ll find details of membership at FRC: Glorify, Grow and Go!
Becoming A Christian
1. The concept of the word “Christian.”
- A. What is a Christian?
- B. Who is a Christian?
- C. What is involved in being a Christian?
- D. Do the words “Church Member” and “Christian” mean the same?
What then is the church or the relationship of the two?
2. How does one accept Christ?
A. Understanding the problem
- 1) Created perfectly
- 2) Fell into sin
- 3) All have sinned – who, me??? Yes you, and me too!
- Romans 3:23 “For all have ___________ and fall short of the ____________ of __________________.
- 4) Paying the price
- Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is ____________, but the gift of God is eternal _________________ in _______________ our Lord.”
B. Recognizing the solution
- 1) God sent son John 3:16
- 2) Who died for us (for ME!)
- I Peter 3:18a “For Christ died for _________ once for all, the ___________ for the _____________, to bring you to ________________
- 3) “Believe and you will be saved” Acts 16:31
- 4) I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just…”
- 5) What does it mean to repent of our sins?
The New Testament uses several words to describe a genuine response to the gospel message. The first word is “repentance,” which in the original Greek literally means “turn around” or “change your mind.” It’s found on the lips of both Jesus and the Apostles as the first ingredient in responding to the good news of God’s grace. To repent is to “turn” that is, to change the direction of one’s life. More than a change in one’s emotions, repentance involves a change in one’s thinking and in one’s willing.
When we repent, we no longer think of God as some distant deity, but as a personal parent and friend; not as coldly indifferent, but as warmly involved. Our will and our behavior are also changed. We begin to want to please God, not ourselves. We come to love what is good, not what is bad. We experience a life directed towards others.
C. By invitation – you invite Jesus Christ into your life.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, behold, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.”
- 1) Christ is Savior – Matthew 1:21
- What does He save us from? Our sin which is rebellion before God. Apart from Jesus, we stand guilty before God. By His death on the cross, He paid the penalty for sins. To be a Christian is to believe that when Christ died on the cross He paid the penalty for my sins.
- 2) Christ is Lord – Luke 9:23
- To let Him rule your life. Bow to self or to God. Lord over what?
- 3) Christ is Friend
- He is a constant companion, defender, and friend. With Him, life is meaningful and fascinating. Fellowship with him is natural and easy.
- Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord?
- How have your relationships with others changed as a result of your becoming a Christian? Do you think about or act differently towards those of another color or those who don’t know Jesus?
- 3. What happens when I become a Christian?
- A. You become a child of God.
- B. Your sins are forgiven.
- C. You will be liberated from falsehood and error.
- D. You will begin the great adventure for which God made you.
- E. Your lifestyle will be different.
- F. You will operate from a base of love instead of self-centeredness.
BASIS OF OUR INFORMATION
To confess Christ is to know Christ. To know Christ, we must turn to the book called the Bible. If we accept what the Bible has to say, then we will come to know the Christ. The Bible is the very foundation of Christianity. Upon that foundation depends the salvation of our immortal souls. The Bible is GOD’S VOICE IN THE WORLD. Any man who lives a rich and meaningful life reads and studies his Bible.
No other book has ever been written to compare with the Bible. It is unique in its divine origin.
- 1. It is God’s own word to His people.
- 2. It is an eternally abiding Word.
- 3. It is a sacred word to which nothing may be added or taken away.
- 4. It is an absolutely trustworthy Word.
- 5. It is an all-sufficient Word, makes us wise unto salvation.
The Bible is a God “inbreathed” book; that is, God inspired the Bible. By this, we mean that God spoke His thoughts and words through the minds of those who wrote. These men wrote through their own personalities and abilities but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Bible is “infallible” – that his original copies were without error. This God is the Author of the Bible. In it, we find Two Testaments (covenants), one looking forward to the coming of Christ with its signs and prophecies; the other telling of HIS first coming and work of the church through its early history and looking forward to His Second Coming. There are 66 different authors. It was accepted by Christ Himself as He was tempted by the Devil, He quoted from the book of Deuteronomy. The Holy Spirit gives the Christian the assurance in his heart that the Bible is the Word of God. I Corinthians 2:9-10
Because of the nature and purpose of God’s Word, its place in our lives cannot be overestimated.
- 1. We need the Bible because it is food for our souls.
- 2. We need the Bible because it gives us wisdom for life.
- 3. We need the Bible as it purifies our lives.
- 4. We need the Bible that we may have courage and hope.
- 5. We need the Bible for in it we learn of Christ and our need of salvation.
The Bible may be rich and meaningful, but how is God’s voice in this Dark World going to be of any help to me, as an individual, seeking spiritual growth?
- 1. Read the Bible as a worshipful means of devotional life. Each of us ought to have our time of private devotions – try John or Psalm.
- 2. Read the Bible as a means of inspiration, i.e., in times of need.
- 3. Read the Bible as a means of knowledge and understanding of God and the Christian life. Just as diamonds must be cut, oil refined, waterfalls harnessed; so the Bible must be studied if its worth is to be known.
- 4. Read the Bible intimately as a means of getting acquainted with God, read so you can feel the Spirit of God working through you.
- 5. Have a definite time (Daniel 9:21), do it regularly and have a good Bible.
“Early Christianity was built on a solid foundation of sound doctrine. It was not idle talk and it did not go unheeded when Peter said…`always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.’ The early Christians knew WHY they were Christians. They knew WHAT they believed.”
I believe in GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND IN JESUS CHRIST HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, OUR LORD, WHO WAS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY, SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DEAD AND BURIED. HE DESCENDED INTO HELL. THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD; HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN AND SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, FROM THERE HE SHALL COME TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD. I believe in THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE HOLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH, THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY, AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN.
(The Apostles’ Creed was used as early as 100 A.D. probably constructed to state the Churches belief on the great basic matter of faith, which were the foundations of all missionary preaching. The final form was about 450 A.D. It is used by most Christian groups.)
Who do you believe? If someone asked you what you believe as a Christian, how would you respond?
OUR BELIEFS at First Reformed
- 1. God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. Gen. 1:1
- 2. He is the Father of Jesus Christ. John 1:14; 14:9
- 3. He is our Father and will provide for all the needs of our bodies and souls. Romans 8:28; Matthew 10:29,31
- 4. He is present everywhere. Psalms 139:7-10
- 5. We know Him through nature, Romans 1:20; and through scripture, Hebrews 1:1,2
ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
- 1. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16
- 2. Jesus had a unique mission.
- a. God’s justice required that sin be punished.
- b. God’s love required that sin be punished.
- c. So Jesus became the solution. He gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Galatians 3:13
- 3. He arose from the dead and is alive forevermore. Romans 8:11
- 4. He is the King of Kings and will be finally victorious over all evil. Rev. 21-22
ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
- 1. The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son, three Persons in the Triune God. Matt. 28:19
- 2. He is the “other Comforter” who dwells in the hearts of men, convincing them of the truth of Christ’s teachings, and helping them to do right. John 14:16,26
- 1. Man is by nature sinful and cannot make himself good. Rom. 3:23
- 2. He can only be made righteous by accepting God’s forgiveness for sin through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. I John 1:9
- 3. He will be given a new life because of his relation to Jesus Christ. Matt. 25:21; Eph. 6:10-11; John 10:10
- 4. He is designed for everlasting life. John 5:24
ABOUT THE BIBLE
- 1. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. II Tim. 3:16
- 2. It is our only guide to show us what we should believe and how we should live. Acts 18:28
- 3. It is for everyone to read so that all may hear God speak to their hearts and minds. John 5:39
ABOUT THE CHURCH
- 1. The Church is made up of people of every race who believe in Jesus Christ. Eph. 2:20-22
- 2. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and the members are His body. Eph. 4:15
- 3. We have two sacraments, instituted by Christ in the new covenant, or testament. They are baptism and the Holy Supper, or communion. Matt. 28:19/ I Cor. 11:23
- 4. Children of church members are called “children of the covenant.” Their baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant relationship and of their membership in the Christian Church. Ps. 11:5; Acts 2:38-39
- 5. The task of the church is to make Jesus Christ known throughout the whole world and to help its members to grow spiritually. Acts 1:8
Reasons for Joining the church
- A. Christ speaks of our openly confessing Him before men. Joining the church is one means of openly confessing Christ. Matt. 10:32, Rom. 10:9-10
- B. The Scripture nowhere glorifies secret discipleship. Matt. 12:20
- C. Membership enables one to participate in the Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and baptism for self and our children.
- D. Being a member of Christ’s church gives a new incentive for faithfulness; for people judge our Christian faith by the lives we lead.
- II. Three ways of uniting with the church
- A. By confession of faith before the elders.
- B. By reaffirmation of our faith before the elders.
- C. By transfer of membership from another church.
- III. Confession of Faith – Must include at least these four elements:
- A. Agree to the teaching of the church as summarized in the Apostles’ Creed.
- B. Promise to use the “means of grace” – prayer, the hearing of the Word of God at worship services, and the Lord’s Supper.
- C. Promise, if the necessity arises, to submit yourself to the care and admonition of the church through the minister and elders.
- D. Promise to support the local church in her ministry and benevolence through sacrificial giving according to your ability.
IV. The Church’s Task
- A. Evangelism, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matt. 28:19,20.
- B. Instruction, “What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” II Tim. 2:2
- C. Worship, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” Ps. 122:1
- D. Fellowship, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” I John 1:3
V. What you can expect from your church.
- A. Through Bible Studies, Sunday School, Worship Services, youth activities, etc., we will provide you with opportunities to continue to grow in your faith.
- B. We will use our gifts of ministry to help you.
- C. We will pray for you.
- D. We will encourage you and correct you when needed to help you live for Jesus everyday and everywhere.
- VI. What your church expects of you.
- A. Attend worship regularly.
- B. Use your gifts in ministry.
- C. Support the church through prayer and financial giving.
- D. Look for ways to tell others about Jesus.
- E. Try to live for Jesus everyday and everywhere.
If you’re ready to join the FRC Family, you can print off and return the appropriate form below:
New Membership Form – Family
New Membership Form – Individual