What Does It Mean to be a Presbyterian?

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So, if we believe in Jesus and trust in our hearts that he is the Messiah, the only Messiah, who can save us, shouldn’t we live our lives as followers of Christ? “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:21-24) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1)

Easier said than done. In fact, it is only by the grace of God that we can even begin to live a Christian life. “I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.” (Eze. 36:27) “For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

All this leads us to a big ‘therefore.’

“Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:19-25)

Christians, that “great cloud of witnesses,” are the body of Christ, and together are the Church. This is the plan of God, that we fellowship together, that we worship together, and that we work together. These are the Great Ends of the Church:

  • We proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and practice gracious hospitality to the stranger and the outsider.
  • We learn together to become disciples of Jesus, holding one another accountable in love, sharing of our time, talent and resources, and discerning God’s will for our corporate and individual ministry.
  • We worship together and celebrate with joy and thanksgiving God’s presence and God’s promised future.
  • We read the Bible together to learn of God’s good and gracious intent for all creation, the salvation mystery, our identity and purpose for life together. We seek to conform to the life modeled by Christ rather than that of the world.
  • We seek to be an inclusive community, transforming life, society, and human relationships in our community and with all those whom God places in our path.
  • We seek to display Christ’s love faithfully in how we behave toward one another, other churches of our tradition, and the church universal.

When the Sunday church service ends, our true worship begins. Everything we know about God teaches us that true worship is the intentional living of each and every day in prayer and mission. In our home, our work, our study, our recreation, we glorify and enjoy God forever.