1. What is at the heart of Christianity that sets it apart from other religions, according to Jesus, its founder?
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
2. How did Jesus “give his life as a ransom for many”?
Romans 5:6-8 “You see, 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 demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
3. How does the Bible recognise the sinfulness of human nature?
Romans 3:10, 23 “There is no-one righteous, not even one …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
4. What gift comes because of Jesus’ death for us?
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no-one can boast.”
5. How do we receive this gift?
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
6. In discussing the sinful human tendency for worldly leaders to want power and control, how does Jesus reverse this concept for the Christian?
Mark 10:43-44 “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
7. How does the apostle Paul express cultural and gender equality and unity in Christ?
Galatians 3:27, 28 “For all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
8. What prayer for unity did Jesus pray for His followers and what would the world know because of this unity?
John 17:20, 21) “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
9. When we become Christians and part of the church, the body of Christ, does unity mean uniformity?
1 Corinthians 12:12, 13 “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free.” Paul here and elsewhere outlines some of the different gifts people have as Christians: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, teaching, administration, service, encouragement and leadership (see Romans 123-8; Ephesians 4:11-13).
Because God is the infinite, personal Creator, distinct from His creation, oneness with Him does not mean the loss of identity, personality or individuality.
Diversity is maintained in unity.
This is something which could never be achieved in Eastern thinking, where God and the cosmos are one, or in Communism where everything is just matter.
As there is one God of three distinct persons (Ephesians 4:4-6; Matthew 28:19-20), where true love and communication exist (John 17:24; Genesis 1:26- 27), so in the church we can have diversity in unity. We realise our true potential as individuals when we are united in loving service under the Lordship of Jesus!