A Catechism For Adult Baptism
This Catechism for Adult Baptism is based on the Evangelical Catechism of the United Church of Christ (1929), with some modifications.
1. What should be the chief concern of man? Man's chief concern should be to seek after the Kingdom of God and to live righteously. Matt. 6:33, Matt. 16:26.
2. How can we live righteously? We can only live righteously through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us from our sins. Matt. 1:21; Acts 16:31.
3. What then must we do to be saved from our sins? We must put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. John 6:40.
4. Where are we told what we must do to be saved from our sins? God has told us what we must do to be saved from our sins in His Word, the Holy Bible, which was written by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Ps. 119:105.
5. In what two ways has God in the Bible revealed His Will towards man? In the Bible, God has revealed His Will towards man by the Law and by the Gospel.
PART I: GOD AND HIS ATTRIBUTES
6. What has God revealed about Himself in the Bible? In the Bible God has revealed to us that He is One God, that He is Spirit, and that He is Life, Light, and Love. Deut. 6:4; John 4:24; 1 John 5:20; 1 John 1:5; 1 John 4:8.
7. What do we mean when we say that God is Life? "God is Life" means that He is eternal, unchangeable, and ever-present. God is eternal: Ps. 90:1-2; Rev. 1:8; Isa. 26:4. Unchangeable: Mal. 3:6. Jas. 1:17. Ever-present: Jer. 23: 3-24; Acts 17:27-28; Ps. 139:7-10; Ps. 23:4.
8. What do we mean when we say that God is Light? "God is Light" means that He is true, all-knowing, all-wise, holy, almighty, and just. God is true: Num. 23:19; 1 John 5:10; Ps. 119:89-90. All-knowing: Ps. 139:1-4; 1 Sam. 16:7; Matt. 6:8. All-wise: Isa. 55:8-9; Ps. 104:24; Rom. 8:28; 1 Pet. 5:7; Jas. 1:5. Holy: Lev. 19:2; Isa. 6:3; Rev. 15:4; 1 Pet. 1:15-16. Almighty: Gen. 17:1; Luke 1:37; Ps. 38:8-9; Isa. 40:26. Just: Ps. 145:17; Ps. 103:6; Ps. 5:4; Rom. 2:6. Isa. 41:10; Ps. 37:25.
9. What do we mean when we say that God is Love? "God is Love" means that He is blessed, good, gracious, and merciful. God is blessed: 1 Tim. 6:15-16. Good: Ps. 145:9; Ps. 107:1; Ps. 36:5. Gracious and merciful: Ps. 103:8-10; Ps. 103:13; Ps. 103: 17-18; Lam. 3: 22- 23; 2 Chron. 30:9; Luke 6:36.
10. What mystery concerning God does the Bible reveal? The Bible reveals to us the mystery that in the one God there are three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that these three are One. Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Matt. 3:16-17; Num. 6:24-26.
PART II: THE THREE ARTICLES OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
11. In what creed (statement of belief) does the Christian Church confess its faith in the Triune God? The Christian Church confesses its faith in the Triune God in the Apostles' Creed.
THE APOSTLES' CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell. On 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 thence He will 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 FIRST ARTICLE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
12. What is the First Article of the Christian Faith?
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
13. What does the First Article of the Christian Faith deal with?
The First Article of the Christian Faith deals with God the Father and of the work of creation.
14. What do we mean when we say, "God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"?
We mean that, in the beginning, God created heaven and earth by the power of His Word. Gen. 1:1; Ps. 33:6; Heb. 11:3.
15. How does God constantly prove Himself to be the Creator?
God constantly proves Himself to be the Creator by His fatherly providence, by which He preserves and governs all things. Gen. 8:22; Ps. 145:15-16; Deut. 8:10; Matt. 6:25; Ps. 121:3-4; Gen. 50:20; Prov. 16:9.
16. What has God done for you?
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me and still preserves my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, also food and clothing, home and family, and all my possessions.
17. What does God still do for you?
God daily and abundantly provides me with all the necessities of life, protects and preserves me from all danger.
18. Why does God do this for you?
God does all this out of sheer fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness on my part.
19. What do you owe God for all this?
For all this it is my duty to thank, praise, serve and obey Him.
20. What are the angels?
The angels are spirits who are sent by God to do His Will. Ps. 103:20; Heb. 1:14; Ps. 91:11-12; Ps. 34:7; Luke 15:10.
21. Have all the angels always obeyed the Will of God?
No; for many of the angels once sinned against God and were banished to hell as enemies of God and man. The chief among the evil spirits is called the devil, or Satan. 2 Pet. 2:4; Eph. 6:12; 1 Pet. 5:8; Jas. 4:7.
22. What is the principal creature on earth?
The principal creature on earth is man, created in the image of God, so that we can know Him and live in blessed fellowship with Him. Gen. 1:27; Gen. 1:31.
23. Did man remain as he was created?
No; for our first parents fell away from God when they permitted Satan to lead them into unbelief and disobedience. Genesis 3.
24. What were the sad consequences of this Fall of man?
By this Fall, man lost the strength and beauty of God's image and came under the power of Satan, sin, and death. This corruption has been transmitted from Adam (representing the first man) to all mankind. Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 5:12; Rom. 7:14; 1 John 3:8.
25. What is man's condition since the Fall?
Since the Fall, man is not prepared to do good, but inclined to do evil. This inherited corruption is called original sin. Gen. 8:21; John 3:6; 1 John 1:8.
26. What is sin?
Sin is unbelief and disobedience in thought and desire, word and deed, by which evil is done or good is neglected, whether thoughtlessly or wilfully. Ps. 19:12; Matt. 15:18; Jas. 4:17; Luke 12:47; 1 Tim. 5:22.
27. What is the punishment of sin?
The punishment of sin is death, as it is written—Romans 6:23.
28. How manifold is this death?
This death is threefold: physical, spiritual, and eternal. Ps. 90:7-8; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 25:41; Eph. 2:1.
29. What did God in His mercy resolve to do to save mankind from sin and its punishment?
God in His mercy resolved from all eternity to save fallen mankind through His only Son – Jesus Christ. 2 Tim. 1:9.
30. How did God prepare mankind for the coming of the Saviour Jesus?
God prepared mankind for the coming of the Saviour Jesus by the promises given during the Fall and to the patriarchs of Israel, by the Law delivered to Moses, by forms of worship in the Old Covenant (Agreement), and by the preaching of the prophets. Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22:18; Gen. 49:10; Jer. 33:15-16; Mic. 5:2; Isa. 9:6; Acts 10:43.
THE LAW OF GOD
31. Where do we find the law of God in brief form?
We find the law of God briefly given in the Ten Commandments. Exod. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21:
1. I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make any idols for yourself.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
5. Honour your father and your mother.
6. You shall not kill.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
10. You shall not covet (desire for yourself) anything that belongs to your neighbour.
32. What is the First Commandment?
"I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before Me."
33. What is meant by the First Commandment?
God forbids all idolatry and requires that we fear, love, and trust in Him above all things. Eccles. 12:13; 1 John 5:3.
34. What is the Second Commandment?
"You shall not make any idols for yourself."
35. What is meant by the Second Commandment?
God forbids us to worship Him in any image; He requires us to worship Him as He has taught us in His Word and revealed Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ. Isa. 42:8; Isa. 40:18; John 1:18.
36. What is the Third Commandment?
"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."
37. What is meant by the Third Commandment?
God forbids that we profane or abuse His name by cursing, false swearing, witchcraft, or unnecessary oaths, and requires that we use His holy name with fear and reverence. Jas. 3:10; Lev. 19:12; Rom. 10:13; Ps. 50:15; Matt. 10:32-33; Ps. 92:1.
38. What is the Fourth Commandment?
"Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy."
39. What is meant by the Fourth Commandment?
God requires that we respect the Lord's Day by resting from worldly employment, diligently going to church, and using the day for the welfare of ourselves and others, and therefore to the honour of God. Ezek. 20:20; Col. 3:16-17; Ps. 26:6-8; Heb. 10:25; Eccles. 5:1; Luke 11:28; Exod. 20:24.
40. What is the Fifth Commandment?
"Honour your father and your mother."
41. What is meant by the Fifth Commandment?
God requires that I always honour my father and mother by loving, obeying, and serving them, and caring for them in sickness, need, and old age; likewise, that I should respect all who, in God's providence, are my superiors. Prov. 1:8; Eph. 6:1-3; Prov. 19:26; Prov. 30:17; Heb. 13:17; Rom. 13:1; Eph. 6:5-7; Acts 5:29.
42. What is the Sixth Commandment?
"You shall not kill."
43. What is meant by the Sixth Commandment?
God forbids not only murder, but every deed, word, and thought by which my own life or the life of my fellow-man is shortened or embittered; God requires that I help my fellow-man in every need and seek his welfare for this life and the life to come. Gen. 9:6; Rom. 12:19; Matt. 5:21,22; 1 John 3:15; Matt. 5:44- 45; Eph. 4:32; Isa. 1:17; Matt 5:7; Prov. 24:1-2.
44. What is the Seventh Commandment?
"You shall not commit adultery."
45. What is meant by the Seventh Commandment?
God forbids the breaking of the marriage vow and requires all of us to be pure in thought, word, and deed. Matt. 5:8; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Prov. 4:23; 1 Cor. 3:17; Eph. 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:33.
46. What is the Eighth Commandment?
"You shall not steal."
47. What is meant by the Eighth Commandment?
God forbids not only robbery and theft, but all unfair and dishonest dealings, and requires that we should help to improve and protect our neighbour's possessions and livelihood. Hab. 2:9; Deut. 25:13-15; Deut. 27:17; Ps. 37:21; Jer. 22:13; Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 2 Cor. 9:7.
48. What is the Ninth Commandment?
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour."
49. What is meant by the Ninth Commandment?
God forbids perjury, slander, and all manner of falsehood, and requires not only that we should be truthful and sincere in our lives, but also that we should protect the honour and good name of our fellow-man. Prov. 19:5; Ps. 34:13-14; Eph. 4:25; Lev. 19:16; Luke 6:37; Isa. 5:20; Phil. 4:8.
50. What is the Tenth Commandment?
"You shall not covet (desire for yourself) anything that belongs to your neighbour."
51. What is meant by the Tenth Commandment?
God forbids all evil lusts and desires for wrongful possession or enjoyment, and requires that we seek our joy in Him and in His loving care for us. Jas. 1:14-15; Rom. 6:12; 1 John 2:15-17; Ps. 37:4.
52. What is the summary of the Ten Commandments?
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deut. 6:5.) "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." (Lev. 19:18.) "On these two commandments depend all the Law and the prophets." (Matt. 22:40.)
53. What does God declare concerning these Commandments?
God says: "Cursed be he who does not confirm the words of this Law by doing them." (Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10.)
54. What is meant by this declaration?
God threatens to punish all who break His Commandments, but to those who keep them He promises grace and blessing. We should therefore fear to do wrong and seek to do God's Will.
55. Have you, or has anyone, ever perfectly kept the Law of God?
No man has ever perfectly kept the Law of God. By nature we are inclined to evil and have in many ways disobeyed God's Commandments and therefore well deserve the curse of the Law. Ps. 130:3; Ps. 143:2; Rom. 3:20.
56. Can we in any way escape the curse of the Law and be saved?
We can escape the curse of the Law and be saved through the grace of God, by which the Gospel of Jesus Christ is given to us.
57. What has God in His grace and mercy done to save us?
“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem (save) those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).
THE SECOND ARTICLE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
58. What is the Second Article of the Christian Faith?
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell. On 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 thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
59. What does the Second Article of the Christian Faith deal with?
The Second Article deals with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and with the work of salvation.
60. Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is true God and true man in one person, my Saviour and Lord.
61. How does the Bible testify that Jesus Christ is true God?
In the Bible, Jesus Christ is called God. The Bible also testifies to His divine nature and works, and demands divine honours for Him. John 1:1-3; John 10:30; John 20:28; John 17:5; John 8:58; 2 Pet. 1:1; Matt. 11:27; John 5:21,26; Matt. 9:6; John 5:22-23; Col. 2:9; John 9:35-37.
62. How does the Bible testify that the Son of God became true man?
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; in that way, He entered into human nature and became in all things as we are, yet without sin. Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Luke 2:52; Matt. 4:2; John 19:28; John 4:6; Luke 19:41; John 11:35; John 19:30.
63. How did Christ reveal Himself as the Saviour before His death?
Christ revealed Himself as the Saviour before His death by His holy life, in which He perfectly fulfilled the Law of God; by His preaching the forgiveness of sin through faith in Him; and by His miracles, which are all works of life. John 4:34; John 8:46; Mark 1:15; Luke 19:10; Acts 10:38; John 5:36.
64. Why was the death of Christ necessary for our salvation?
The death of Christ was necessary for our salvation because we lost sinners could not be saved either by teaching or by example, but only by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ in His suffering and death. 1 Cor. 2:2; 1 Cor. 1:23- 24; John 1:29; Heb. 7:26-27; John 15:13.
65. How did Christ accomplish our salvation?
Christ accomplished our salvation by His suffering and death on the cross, in which He endured, in our place, the anger of God against sin, thereby saving us from sin, Satan and eternal death. Isa. 53:4; 2 Cor. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:20; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Titus 2:14; 2 Tim. 1:10; Col. 1:13-14; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:10.
66. Of what importance is Christ's burial?
Christ's burial is a testimony that He really died.
67. What is meant when we say, "He descended into hell?
This statement means that Jesus went to the place of deceased sinners and brought them the message of salvation. 1 Pet. 3:18-20.
68. What does it mean to us that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that He is (the Son of) God; that He is our Saviour, in whom we have newness of life; and that we too shall be raised from the dead. Rom. 4:25; Rom. 1:4; 2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Cor. 15:17-18; 1 Cor. 15:20-21; Rom. 8:11; Rom. 6:4; John 11:25-26.
69. What does it mean to us that Christ ascended into heaven?
Forty days after His resurrection, Christ was visibly taken up into heaven, there to prepare a place for us. John 14:2-3; John 17:24; Acts 1:1-11.
70. What do we confess by the words "He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty"?
By these words we confess that the risen and ascended Christ is in heaven in the full power and glory of God. Ps. 110:1; Eph. 1:20-23; Rom. 8:33-34.
71. What do we confess with the words "From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead"?
With these words we confess that Christ will come again on the last day with great power and glory to take into eternal life those who believe, and to deliver into eternal death those who do not believe. Acts 1:11; Luke 21:27-28; Matt. 25:31-32; 2 Cor. 5:10.
72. A Summary of the Second Article of the Christian Faith.
1. Who is Jesus Christ?
I believe that Jesus Christ—true God, with the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary—is my Lord.
2. What did Christ do for you?
He has saved, purchased, and delivered me, a lost and condemned creature, from all sins, from eternal death and from the power of Satan.
3. How did He save you?
By shedding His holy, precious blood on the cross, and by His innocent suffering and death.
4. For what purpose did He save you?
That I might belong to Him, live with Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, as He is risen from the dead, and lives and reigns in all eternity.
THE THIRD ARTICLE OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
73. What is the Third Article of the Christian Faith?
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.
74. What does the Third Article of the Christian Faith deal with?
The Third Article of the Christian Faith deals with God the Holy Spirit and with the godly life which He makes possible.
75. What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Holy Trinity, with the Father and the Son, true and eternal God, the Lord and distributor of all gifts, who enables us to come to Christ our Lord, and to remain with Him forever.
76. By what means does the Holy Spirit do His work?
The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God and the Holy Sacraments, which are the means of grace. Jas. 1:21; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 10:16.
77. In what manner does the Holy Spirit lead us to Christ?
The Holy Spirit makes known to us the call of God to come to Christ; He teaches us how, because of our sin, we need Christ; He leads us by granting us repentance and faith to accept and follow Christ; and He enables us to begin and live the new life of a child of God. Heb. 3:7-8; John 15:26; John 14:26; Rom. 8:9,14.
78. What is repentance?
True repentance consists in being convinced of one’s sin, sorrow for sin, confessing and renouncing (changing one’s mind and turning away from) sin, and longing for grace. Ps. 38:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; Matt. 5:4; Ps. 51:17; 1 John 1:8-9; Jas. 5:16; Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7; Luke 19:8; Luke 15:18-19; Luke 18:13; Matt. 5:6.
79. What is faith?
Faith is complete trust in God and willing acceptance of His grace in Jesus Christ. Heb. 11:1; Heb. 11:6; John 6:40; John 6:68-69; Acts 16:31.
80. What does God do for us when we come to Him in repentance and faith?
When we come to God in repentance and faith, He forgives us our sins for Jesus' sake and accepts us as His children. This is called “justification” (being put right with God). 1 John 3:1; Gal. 3:26; Rom. 3:23-24; Rom. 3:28; Eph. 2:8-9.
81. How does the Bible speak of the change in our life brought about by repentance and faith?
The Bible speaks of this change as being “born again”, or as being converted.
82. What does it mean to be “born again”?
To be “born again” means the beginning of the new life within us by the power of God's Word. This is called “regeneration”. John 3:3; John 3:5; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 1:23.
83. What does it mean to be converted?
To be converted means to turn from the broad way of the sinful life and to enter the narrow way of the godly life. Matt. 7:13-14; Ezek. 33:11; Ezek. 18:21; 1 Pet. 2:25.
84. How are we assured that we have been put right with God?
We are assured that we have been put right with God by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, as it is written in Romans 8:15-16: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God”.
85. What is necessary for us to continue in the godly life?
In order that we may continue in the godly life, the Holy Spirit must daily transform and renew us in all our thoughts and actions and make us acceptable to God. This is called “sanctification”. 1 John 5:4; 2 Cor. 5:17; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Pet. 2:1-2; Eph. 4:22-24; Phil. 3:12; Heb. 12:14; 1 Thess. 5:23.
86. What is meant by "Church" in the Apostles' Creed?
By the holy Christian Church we mean the entire body of true Christians. John 17:20-21.
87. Why is the Church called holy?
The Church is called holy because the Holy Spirit works mightily in it by the Word and sacraments so that all its members shall be made holy. Eph. 5:25- 27; 1 Pet. 2:9.
88. Why is the Church called the "Christian" Church?
The Church is called Christian because Christ alone is its foundation, its head, and its ideal. 1 Cor. 3:11; Col. 1:18; Eph. 4:13; Eph. 4:15.
89. What is the mission of the Church?
The mission of the Church is to extend the Kingdom of God, i.e. to lead men to Christ and to establish Christian principles in every relation of life. Acts 1:8; Isa. 52:7; Rom. 10:14; Luke 9:2; Matt. 24:14; Luke 13:19; Matt. 13:33.
90. What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is the rule of God established in the hearts and lives of people. Luke 17:20-21; John 18:36; Luke 6:31; Luke 6:44-45; Matt. 5:16; Matt. 5:44-45.
91. Where did Christ set out the principles of His Kingdom?
Christ set out the principles of His Kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew, chapters 5-7; Luke, chapter 6, verses 20-49.)
92. Has the Church already become all that we confess concerning it?
The Church has indeed existed at all times as the true Church, but has frequently erred and been corrupted; its future perfection, however, is certain, according to God's promise. Matt. 16:18; Matt. 13:24-26.
93. What do we understand by the communion of saints?
By the communion of saints we understand that all Christians, as members of one body, should love and help one another in all things. 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Phil. 2:2-4; 1 Cor. 12:26.
94. What do we mean by the words "I believe in the forgiveness of sins"?
The forgiveness of sins is present in Christ for all mankind, and is offered by the grace of God to all sinners. Luke 24:46-47; Mark 3:28; 1 John 2:1-2; Isa. 1:18.
95. What do we understand by the resurrection of the body?
We understand by this that true believers will be raised from the dead and given a new, eternal body. John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:42-44; Phil. 3:20-21; John 17:24; 2 Cor. 5:10.
96. What do we mean by the life everlasting?
By the life everlasting we mean that, when they die, all children of God shall receive the glory of Christ in body and soul and shall abide with Him forever. 1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 13:12; Matt. 25:34; Isa. 35:10; Rev. 21:3-4.
97. A summary of the Third Article of the Christian Faith.
1. How do you become a true Christian?
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in my Lord Jesus Christ, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and preserved me in the true faith.
2. Through what institution does the Holy Spirit work?
The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and preserves the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
3. What do you receive in the Church through the Holy Spirit?
In the Christian Church the Holy Spirit daily and abundantly forgives me and all believers all sins.
4. What is your hope for the future?
When I die, Christ will raise me up and will give everlasting life to me and all believers.
PART III: PRAYER
98. What is prayer?
Prayer is the conversation of the heart with God for the purpose of praising Him, asking Him to supply the needs of ourselves and others, and thanking Him for whatever He gives us. Ps. 19:14; Ps. 34:3; Ps. 103:1-4; Matt. 6:6; Matt. 7:7- 8; Matt. 18:19-20; Matt. 21:22; Ps. 92:1; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; 1 Thess. 5:17.
99. In what prayer has the Lord Jesus taught us how to pray?
Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4.)
100. What is the meaning of "Our Father who art in heaven"?
Our heavenly Father desires us and all His children to call upon Him with cheerful confidence, as beloved children entreat a kind and affectionate father, knowing that He is both willing and able to help us. Matt. 7:9-11; John 16:27; Rom. 10:12; Ps. 121:1-2.
101. What do we pray for in the first petition: "Hallowed be Thy name"?
We pray in this petition that God's name may be kept holy among us as it is holy in itself. This is done when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God lead a holy life in accordance with it. Ps. 72:18-19; Matt. 5:16.
102. What do we pray for in the second petition: "Thy kingdom come"?
In the second petition we pray that we and all God’s children may share in the Kingdom of God which was established by the salvation through Jesus Christ, and that its rule may be extended over all the world. Luke 17:20-21; Rev. 11:15; Compare Matt. 13:31-32, the parable of the mustard seed, and Matt. 13:33, the parable of the yeast.
103. What do we pray for in the third petition: "Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"?
In the third petition we pray that God's good and gracious Will may be done by us and all people as cheerfully as it is done by the angels in heaven. 1 John 2:17; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 13:20-21.
104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition: "Give us this day our daily bread"?
In the fourth petition we look to God as the One who supplies the needs of our body as well as of our soul, and we ask Him to make us truly thankful for these His gifts. Matt. 5:45; Ps. 145:15-16; Prov. 30:8-9; Matt. 6:34; Ps. 127:1-2; 2 Thess. 3:10; Deut. 8:10; Matt. 4:4.
105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us"?
In the fifth petition we ask God for gracious forgiveness of our sins, and for willingness and strength to forgive others. Ps. 51:1-3; Matt. 6:14-15; Matt. 18:21-22.
106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition: "Lead us not into temptation"?
In the sixth petition we pray that, whenever we are tempted by Satan, the world, and our flesh to do evil, God may protect and keep us from sinning. Jas. 1:13; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 2:11; 1 John 5:4-5.
107. What do we pray for in the seventh petition: "But deliver us from evil"?
In the seventh petition we pray that the heavenly Father may deliver us from every evil of body and soul; and finally, when our last hour has come, graciously take us from this world of sorrow to Himself in heaven. John 17:15; 2 Tim. 4:18; Rom. 8:23.
108. What is the meaning of the closing words: “For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever”?
By these closing words we mean to express our confidence that God will hear and answer our petitions; for He Himself has commanded us thus to pray and promised that we shall be heard. Amen: That is, “Yes, it shall be so”. 2 Cor. 1:20; Eph. 3:20.
109. Why is prayer necessary?
Prayer is necessary because God will give His grace and His Holy Spirit only to those who earnestly and without ceasing ask them of Him and give thanks to Him. Luke 18:7-8; Luke 11:13; Ps. 55:16-17; Jas. 5:16.
110. How should we pray?
We should pray humbly because of our need and unworthiness; and yet with faith, believing that for the sake of Jesus Christ, God will certainly hear our prayer. Dan. 9:18; Matt. 21:22; John 15:7; Jas. 1:6.
111. Are all our prayers answered?
All prayers are answered either in the way we expect God to answer them or in the way God knows will be best for us. 2 Cor. 12:8-9; Ps. 40:1; Hab. 1:2; Gen. 32:26; Ps. 10:17.
PART IV: THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
112. What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is a holy ordinance of the Church instituted by Christ Himself.
113. How many sacraments has Christ instituted?
Christ has instituted two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion.
114. With what words did Christ institute the sacrament of Baptism?
Christ instituted the sacrament of Baptism with words in Matthew 28:18-20.
115. What blessings do true believers receive in Baptism?
In Baptism true believers have their salvation confirmed, are received into fellowship with God as His children, and are admitted as members of the Christian Church.
116. What does Baptism require of us?
Baptism requires of us that we by daily repentance renounce all sinful longings and desires, and by faith arise to a new life. Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 3:9-10.
117. What does preparation for Baptism consist in?
In preparation for Baptism, candidates are to be instructed in the Christian faith, so that they can publicly confess their faith in their Saviour Jesus Christ, promise obedience to Him until death, and be received by the Church into active membership.
PART V: THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
118. With what words did Christ institute the sacrament of Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper?
The Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way also He took a cup, after supper, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25.
119. What are the visible signs and means of the sacrament of Holy Communion?
The visible signs and means of the sacrament of Holy Communion are bread and wine or grape juice, partaken of by the communicant.
120. What is Holy Communion?
Holy Communion is the sacrament by which we receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (in whatever way we understand this) as the nourishment of our new life, strengthen the fellowship with Christ and all believers, and commemorate and confess that He died for us.
121. What blessings do true believers receive as they eat and drink in Holy Communion?
As they eat and drink in Holy Communion, true believers receive forgiveness of sins, refreshment of soul, and renewal of life. John 6:51; John 6:55-56; Eph. 5:30; 1 Cor. 10:17.
122. On what condition do we receive the blessings of Holy Communion?
We receive the blessings of Holy Communion only as we eat and drink with heartfelt repentance and true faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5; Ps. 139:23-24; 1 Cor. 11:27; 1 Cor. 11:29-30; Matt. 5:23-24.
123. What does our communion require of us?
Our communion requires that we keep in remembrance the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus, and that we consider well how hard it was for our Saviour to bear our sins and the sins of the whole world, and to gain eternal salvation for us by offering up His life and shedding His blood. And since our sins caused the Lord Jesus the greatest sufferings, and bitter death, we should have no pleasure in sin, but earnestly flee and avoid it; and being reclaimed by our Saviour and Redeemer we should live, suffer and die to His honour, so that at all times and especially in the hour of death we may cheerfully and confidently commit our soul entirely to Him.
Appendix A – The Books of the Bible
The Bible consists of two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and is, in effect, the Jewish Bible. The New Testament was written in Greek. There are 66 books in the Bible: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
- Deuteronomy - these first five are also known as the Five Books of Moses
- 1 Samuel
- 2 Samuel
- 1 Kings
- 2 Kings
- 1 Chronicles
- 2 Chronicles
- Song of Solomon
- Lamentations (of Jeremiah)
BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
- John - these first four are known as the Four Gospels (Gospel = Good News), portraying the life and teachings of Jesus
- Acts (of the Apostles) – portrays the actions of the first Christians and Paul’s missionary journeys to bring the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles (non-Jews)
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- 1 Thessalonians
- 2 Thessalonians
- 1 Timothy
- 2 Timothy
- Philemon - all these 13 letters were written by Paul
- 1 Peter
- 2 Peter
- 1 John
- 2 John
- 3 John
- Revelation (of John)
Appendix B – The Church Year
The church year is traditionally arranged to celebrate the main events in the life of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. The order is as follows:
- Four Sundays in Advent (looking forward to the coming of Jesus into the world).
- Christmas (celebrating the birth of Jesus).
- Epiphany (6 January – celebrating the manifestation of Jesus as God to the Gentiles in the form of wise men from an eastern land).
- Sundays after Epiphany.
- Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent, a 40-day season devoted to fasting and repentance).
- Sundays in Lent (the sixth being Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem when the crowd hailed him as their king).
- Holy Week (the week before Easter – it also includes Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion).
- Easter (celebrating Jesus’ resurrection from the dead).
- Five Sundays after Easter.
- Ascension Day (40 days after Easter, celebrating Jesus’ ascending into heaven).
- Sunday after Ascension.
- Pentecost (50 days after Easter, also known as Whitsunday, celebrating the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem).
- Trinity Sunday.
- Sundays after Trinity Sunday.
Some churches celebrate Reformation Day on 31 October, which commemorates the day (31 October 1517) regarded as the beginning of Protestantism, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg to debate the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church.
Some churches also celebrate All Saints’ Day on 1 November, which properly commemorates all truly believing Christians who have died.