Are any of you familiar with the ABC’s of Christianity? The ABC’s of Christianity are: Ask, Believe, Confess. That is an easy way to remember how we are to be saved. I’m assuming that we all have done our ABC’s, so let’s move on to the opposite end of the alphabet — the W’s of Christianity: Word, Worship, Witness, and Works — all very important and valuable words for each and every follower of Christ.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God had just given us a specific list of things to do to be a Christian? We could check off our duties every day and feel pretty good about ourselves and our salvation. There may not be a list available in such a simple form, but our Lord did give us guidelines to follow. For instance, we are told to be baptized or have communion, but depending upon the denomination, that may look quite different. All baptisms though involve water, and all communions use some sort of bread and wine.
God gave us a place to find out what we should be doing to be good Christians. Where might we find those things? The Bible. The Bible is our textbook, our instruction manual – divinely inspired, and given to us as a gift. “In the beginning was the Word,” we read in John 1:1. The Word is the key to everything in our life as a Christian. It is our foundation. Second Timothy 3: 16-17 tells us, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work”.
I am often amazed and reminded that no matter what the circumstance, problem, or situation, there is somewhere in the Bible that addresses it in some way. So our first line of offense and defense should be THE WORD – God’s Word – The Bible.
In order to know God and His will for our life, as well as put that into action, we must read, study, and speak God’s Word. It is where we get to know God and His character. God’s Word is the standard we are to live by. Then we know not only what is expected of us, but what we can expect from God. His promises are throughout the Bible, and on those we know we can depend. As John 17:17b says, “Your Word is truth.”
Our second word is WORSHIP. The Lord adores our Worship. He desires our love, praise, and honor of Him. “ Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth,” it says in Psalm 100. God loves to hear us praising, giving thanks, and singing to Him. If we admit it though, most of us are guilty of mainly complaining or begging to God instead of praising or thanking Him. Complaining keeps us from doing and thinking what we should. It keeps us in a negative place from where we just can’t escape, but praise and thanksgiving lifts us up to realize just how lucky we are to have a God who loves and cares about us in everything that happens to us and opens our minds to Him. Praise and thanksgiving is for God, but benefits us too — more than we realize.
We have to be a WITNESS for our Lord and faith. We are God’s living examples here on earth. If we don’t show what faith and love and charity are, then we are not being a good witness to our Lord. Jesus said to go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation in Mark 16: 15. Your world right now is probably your family and friends. And remember, you may think you are never going to have to preach a sermon, but all of us do preach a sermon everyday by our attitudes, speech, and actions.
And finally, being a good witness involves doing good WORKS in some way or another. Now, we know Jesus said we are not saved by our works, but if you have the heart of a Christian, you will want to be doing the work of the Lord in some way. These works will look different according to our own unique gifts and aptitudes, but we should be working for the Kingdom by being kind and helping others, and doing nice things to help people (including those people in our families.)
These four words are excellent to remember: Reading and studying the Word of God, so we know God’s expectations and promises. Worshiping Him in spirit and truth together as Christ’s people, and being a witness to His unfailing love and mercy by doing good works for others everywhere.
Sounds so simple when it’s put into a just a few sentences, and it is in most ways. We are the ones that complicate God’s message for ourselves and others by our own fears, selfishness, and unforgiveness. Let us pray to God to give us the simple understanding of what it means to love Him and act upon that love in all circumstances for not only our sakes, but for our friends and family too.
Let’s say our prayer for the week. God, we love You and want so much to be good Christians in every sense of the word. Please help us to honor You by being the best person we can be, loving people everywhere, and believing in Your help and guidance to do these things for Your glory. In Your holy name, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.