by Edward Short (Xie Dehua)
[English Translation of Jidu de Jiao Yi]
1. GOD: OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN
Is there a God? How many gods are there? Is God close to man or is he far away? If we need God, is he always available to help us? The Bible says, “…there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live…”; moreover, “he is not far from each of us.”
What is God like?
God is omnipotent. Genesis 17:1: “I am God Almighty.” God created the magnificent universe and he created the tiny ant.
God is omnipresent. Psalms 139:2: “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” God not only looks after Europeans, he also watches over Chinese. God cares for all people throughout the world.
God is omniscient. Psalms 139:2-4: “…You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” God knows the number of stars in the heavens; he has also counted the hair on your head.
God is self-sustaining and eternal. Exodus 3:14: Since God is the creator of the universe he does not rely on anyone, neither does he need to be served by human hands (see Acts -25). All things were made by him; from everlasting to everlasting he is God.
God is spirit. John 4:24: Since God is spirit he is not bound by space and time, consequently he can hear simultaneously the prayers of someone in
God never changes. Psalms 102:25-27: Man changes, his ideas change, his laws change; man goes against his own laws. But God is changeless. God does not show favoritism; he treats you the same way he treats me. The promises God made two thousand years ago are still good today.
God is love. 1 John 4:8: God’s greatest quality is that he loves us. Do you believe that God loves you? Perhaps you are thinking: “If God really loves us, why doesn’t he think of a way to reveal his image and his will to us?”
2. GOD’S WORD: THE BIBLE
God reveals himself to mankind through the Bible.
The Bible is a compilation of sixty-six books. Some of these were written about 1500 B.C., but the information recorded therein goes back to the time of creation. The Old Testament was finished about twenty-four hundred years ago and the New Testament was finished about eighteen hundred years ago. The entire Bible or some portion of it has been translated into more than one thousand nine hundred and seventy languages. This figure includes more than thirty-five Chinese language editions The first Chinese New Testament was published in 1814.
The Bible is a holy composition. The Bible is able to make you “wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17 says
“You have known the Holy Scriptures since you were a child. Those Scriptures are able to make you wise. And that wisdom leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by God. And all Scripture is useful for teaching and for showing people the things that are wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching how to live right. Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be ready and will have everything he needs to do every good work” (Easy-to Read Version. The Chinese is quoted from Putonghua Bible © World Bible Translation Center,
“God’s word is alive and working. His word is sharper than the sharpest sword. God’s word cuts all the way into us like a sword. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts.” This is found in Hebrews and is the Bible’s explanation of itself. (Easy-to-Read Version. The Chinese is quoted from Putonghua Bible © World Bible Translation Center,
3. GOD’S SON: JESUS
Jesus Christ was born approximately two thousand years ago, but he has existed throughout eternity. There has never been a time when Jesus was not. Christ came into the world; that is, God, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among mankind. (Please read John 1:1-18 in the New Testament portion of the Bible.)
Jesus was described as one who “went around doing good…” (Acts ). The Bible tells us that Jesus spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and healed all sorts of illnesses. Jesus gave sight to the blind, cleansed lepers, enabled the deaf to hear and raised the dead. Regarding Jesus’ actions, John stated that “if every one of them were written down, even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” These miracles not only expressed the love and concern that Jesus had for people, they also proved that Jesus was the son of God. They also instilled deep faith in those who saw the miracles, faith that God was with Jesus and caused these people to praise all he did.
Consider some of the words of Jesus, as follows: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” “I am the gate. The person that enters through me will be saved…” “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Since Jesus was sent by God, of course he spoke the words of God. But he faced a horrific murder at the hands of the unrighteous. Jesus came to cause people to admit sin before God and to repent, but man exposed his sinfulness before God by nailing Jesus to a cross. Jesus lived a perfect life while on earth so death was unable to bind him and the grave was unable to swallow him; God called Jesus back from death and resurrected him. The apostle Paul certifies this fact: “He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time.” Most of those five hundred people were still alive when Paul wrote this letter, and could corroborate what Paul said (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus were all part of God’s plan to redeem mankind. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John ).
But what about man is worth so much that God would go to such lengths to redeem him?
4. GOD’S CREATION: MAN
David, one of the authors of the Bible, was a king of
There is a very big difference between God’s creation of mankind and the animals; God gave man a soul [or spirit] (Ecclesiastes 12:7). We are told that God made man in his own image. God is perfect and morally good, and so when God created man, man too began as pure and perfect (Genesis -31). We still see this pure and good nature in infants and in small children who do not yet know what sin is. The ancient Chinese book “San Zi Jing” [Three-Character Classic] expresses this same truth: “Ren zhi chu, xing ben shan” [the basic nature of man is innately good].
What is the purpose of life? There are at least two purposes to life:
1) To glorify our Creator, God (Isaiah 43:7; 1 Corinthians ), an
2) To prepare for eternity, in that each of us possesses an imperishable soul. Of course these two purposes include but are not limited to our doing good and helping other people.
Question: How are you doing with these two purposes in life? Are you doing your best to do everything you should do? Are you living in harmony with God? If not, what are you waiting for?
5. WHAT GOD HATES: SIN
Perhaps you often hear Christians mention the word “sin” and wonder why in the world they talk about it so much. What is sin? Many people believe that the Chinese character “zui” [sin] is composed of two words, namely “si” [four] and “fei” [wrong, evil doing]. They think of Confucius’ work Lun Yu [Analects], where Confucius was talking to Yan Yuan and said, “Look not at what is contrary to li [propriety, etiquette, ceremony, protocol]; listen not at what is contrary to li; speak not what is contrary to li; make no movement which is contrary to li.” To them, the “si-fei” [four wrongs] of “zui” [sin] means not doing these things. However, in this passage Confucius is talking about ren [perfect virtue, benevolence, humanity] and li; he is not defining sin. In fact all people, whether Chinese or not, should accept Confucius’ admonition and develop the spirit of li and ren, but these in no way can keep us from sinning.
Other people believe that the “si-fei” of “zui” are: “Do not commit murder, do not steal, do not commit adultery and do not get drunk” (or some similar list). They say that they have never done these four things and so they have no sin.
In fact however, “zui” [sin] is composed of “wang” [net] and “fei” [wrong, evil doing], not of “si” [four] and “fei.” “Wang” means “net” and it is a very old Chinese character. In the character for sin, “net” is symbolic of the law and thus it means that one’s “wrong” has been caught in the “net” of the law. Anyone who does wrong will face either man’s law or God’s law and will be determined to be “sinner,” and he may face punishment from both entities. Just as the old saying goes, “no one escapes the dragnet of the law.”
How does God define “sin”?
The Bible teaches that it is sin to fall short of God’s standard. The Bible defines sin in the following ways:
Lawlessness: “…sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
Lack of good: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James ).
Wrongdoing: “All wrongdoing is sin…” (1 John 5:17).
Faithlessness: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans ).
Will anyone dare to refuse to admit that he has sin and that he stands reproved by the Bible? Who refuses to confess that he has “zui” [sin] and that he should be judged by God’s law? The Bible affirms that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans ). Does this Scripture describe you? If so, how can you remedy the problem?
6. GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION
“God is love,” therefore he will not allow us to grope in the darkness seeking relief from the burden of sin. Man cannot and need not save himself. God has provided a way, his plan of salvation that will enable sinful man to be saved.
The Bible says that, “at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God shows his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
When Jesus was nailed to the cross, he who revered and obeyed God died for those who disobey God; the sinless was punished for the sinful and the righteous for the unrighteous. The New Testament book of 1 Peter describes Jesus: “‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (-25).
God calls man to be reconciled to himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are no longer separated from God because of sin; rather, God wants all people to be saved through his grace. In Ephesians 2:8 we read: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” This is God’s plan for the redemption of mankind.
But how does man comply with God’s plan?
7. WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
In the Bible, whenever a non-Christian committed to Jesus and became a Christian, the process always included the following sequence: Hearing and believing the gospel, repentance of sins, confession of Jesus as the Son of God, baptism into the name of Jesus Christ.
Belief: “Without faith, a person cannot please God. Any person who comes to God must believe that God is real. Any person who comes to God must believe that God rewards those people who truly want to find him” (Hebrews 11:6; Easy-to-Read Version; The Chinese is quoted from Putonghua Bible © World Bible Translation Center, Fort Worth, TX). Someone asked the apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” This person had not yet heard the gospel so Paul answered him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:30-31). Then Paul told him the gospel message.
Repentance: “The Lord… is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
What does it mean to repent? Repentance is change of thought, prompted by change of heart, resulting in change of life. Do you want to repent of your sins?
Confession: Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. Butover disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew -33). Paul said, “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Dear reader, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you want to declare this to others?
Baptism: To those who believed that Jesus was God’s Son and who confessed their sinfulness, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is to you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts -39). When a person who believes that Jesus is God’s Son and repents of his sins is baptized, at that moment God uses the blood of Jesus to forgive his sins.
Verses three through six of Romans chapter six explains baptism further: “…don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” This passage makes us aware that it is the grace of God and the holy blood of Jesus that saves us, but it is baptism that puts us in contact with the cross of Jesus; when we are baptized God uses the holy blood of Jesus to wash our sins away. We come up out of the water a newly created person and so we must live a new life.
Lifestyle: Unless a person exhibits the lifestyle of Jesus Christ he cannot be called a Christian. Many people in our world call themselves Christians, but because they lack the lifestyle that a Christian ought to demonstrate, Jesus cannot call them his disciples.
How should Christians live?
8. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
If a person does just like the Bible teaches and is baptized into the Lord, God will wash his sins away and give him his Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit will live within him and help him be pleasing to God. (Please read Acts 2:38; ; ; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.) Consequently the Christian life is as follows:
(1) A new person: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (1 Corinthians ). In Galatians Paul painstakingly says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
(2) A new way of thinking: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).
(3) Different from non-Christians: It is impossible for a Christian not to have some contact with the sexually immoral, greedy, thieves, idol worshippers, etc, but he must not join them in their filth. (See 1 Corinthians 5:9-11.)
(4) Produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians -23).
(5) A life of giving thanks to God (Colossians -17).
(6) A life of purity (1 Peter ).
(7) A life of love: Christians love God and they also love their fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Christians love all people; they even love their enemies with the love of God. (See Matthew chapters five through seven.)
(8) A life of unity: Christians should be unified (John -21; Romans 15:5-6).
(9) Sometimes a life of persecution (1 Timothy ; the entire book of 1 Peter).
(10) A life of teaching others how to become Christians (Matthew 28:18-20).
Since the Christian life includes all these wonderful things, each item is important. No wonder Paul admonished Christians, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians ).
9. THE IMPORTANCE OF WORSHIPPING THE TRUE GOD
Christians should worship God together with fellow Christians often, but such worship should be according to Biblical teachings. It is only right and proper that Christians will want to worship God! But there are other reasons too:
(1) Christians yearn to worship God, to praise and thank him as our Lord, creator of the universe and Savior of the world. It is natural to worship God. The heart of the poet King David overflowed when he said, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalms 42:1-2).
(2) God wants us to honor him each week through worship. See 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.
(3) If we do not worship God regularly, it becomes very easy to fall from God’s grace, but if we worship him regularly we will receive many
What happens during Christian worship? What should you expect if you go to a place of Christian worship?
During worship, those assembled should express an attitude of serenity and respect, of joy and fervency. The worship will include singing of hymns by the congregation. Some men will lead those assembled in prayer and Bible reading and praise. A minister will preach on a spiritual subject for some thirty to fifty minutes. Each “Lord’s Day” (Sunday), Christians will partake of the “Lord’s Supper” and will have opportunity to contribute financially to the church. This contribution supports the expenditures of the church, including helping the poor, spreading the gospel and up keep on the place of worship.
Are “seekers” (those who are not yet Christians but are interested in Christianity) welcome at worship services? Of course! You will be welcomed warmly by any church that is truly close to the Lord Jesus. Please ask the person who gave you this booklet to tell you where you can find a
10. JESUS CALLS YOU
Are you aware that you now know enough about the teachings of Christ to become a Christian? Don’t you want to become a Christian, even today? Don’t you want to become a child of God and enable him to become your spiritual father and Jesus to become your Savior? Don’t you want to be baptized into Christ so that your sins will be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and become a member of God’s family and church? Don’t you want to make your commitment now? Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” (Revelation 3:20). Jesus also says, “…Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation ).
Unless otherwise noted, English Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishers.
Unless otherwise noted, Chinese Scripture taken from the 《圣经和合本》CHINESE UNION VERSION
Some Chinese Scripture taken from 《圣经：普通话本》 SHENGJING: PUTONGHUABEN and some English Scripture taken from the EASY-TO-READ VERSION Copyright © World Bible Translation Center P.O. Box 820648 Fort Worth, Texas 76182 Telephone: 817-595-1664.
1 Statistics of Asian Visitors, or specifically Chinese Visitors is:
Nov 2011 - 11,832 or 38.11 %
Dec 2011 - 12,441 or 36.76 %
January 2012 - 16,434 or 43.85 %