FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About The Christian Life - Introduction
It is sometimes said that preachers answer questions that no one is asking. Several years ago I decided to tackle that problem head-on by asking my congregation to submit a list of questions they would like answered from the pulpit. To my surprise (and delight) we received more than six hundred questions covering virtually every area of theology, Bible knowledge, and the spiritual life. Since they came from the congregation at large and were unsigned, they ran the gamut from detailed theology (“Why is the Trinity so important?”) to straight Bible questions (“What does Hebrews 6:4—6 really mean?”) to questions about specific doctrine (“Can I lose my salvation?”) to questions about controversial issues (“Can a Christian believe in evolution?”).
Many questions tugged at the heart, such as “My parents fight all the time. What can I do about it?” and “How can I raise teenagers who love the Lord?” There were questions from people who were clearly searching for the Lord and the occasional unusual query about UFOs and the Bible. A few questions were of the “angels on the head of a pin” variety, but most were very practical.
Out of that survey came a sermon series in which I attempted to answer the most important questions. Not long after that I was asked to be an occasional guest host on a national radio call-in program. On those broadcasts I talk to listeners scattered across America and (via the Internet) around the world. Many of the questions touch on the need for very basic instruction in the Christian faith. Most people have sincere questions about troubling Bible passages or ask for help with things like prayer, temptation, and knowing God’s will.
From listening to my own congregation and by talking with people on the air, I have put together the most important questions in an easy-to-read format. You need to know right up front that I believe the Bible is the Word of God and is, therefore, the only reliable source for answering the greatest questions of life. The Bible does not tell us everything we could know on every subject, but it tells us everything we need to know about who God is and how we can live in a way that pleases him. We need to hear what he has to say.
I wrote this book for new believers, young Christians (both in age and in years knowing the Lord), and for any church member who needs a refresher course in the Christian faith. It helps to remember that coming to Christ is not like taking up a new hobby. Becoming a Christian means taking a journey that starts on earth and ends in heaven. Each chapter of this book will help you stay on course as a Christian.
The first chapter discusses the difference between a religious person and someone who is truly born again. The next few chapters discuss eternal security, the kind of church you should join, the filling of the Spirit, knowing God’s will, and how to pray. Then there are chapters on temptation, suffering, spiritual warfare, and sharing your faith. The final three chapters move into the future as we discuss death, heaven, and the second coming of Christ.
No single book can answer all your questions. There is much more to learn about spiritual disciplines, Bible doctrine, and how to handle your daily problems. But this book will help you get grounded in your faith. It’s like basic training in the military. In these pages you’ll learn vital information that prepares you for the next step in your walk with the Lord.
Two final words: First, I hope you won’t read this book straight through. You can do that, of course, but most people will gain more by reading a little bit at a time. You may want to use it as part of your daily quiet time with the Lord, or you might enjoy reading it as part of a small group Bible study or a Sunday school class. I think you’ll probably grow faster if you study it with other Christians who are also committed to spiritual growth. Feel free to underline the text and to jot down questions in the margin. This is your book and I want it to help you. Second, each of the thirteen chapters deals with one major question. And each chapter ends with a truth to remember, a few questions to ponder, and a section called “Taking Action” where I suggest a project that will help you apply what you have read to your own life.
I am grateful to Len Goss of Broadman & Holman Publishers for his encouragement and wise insights. David and ClarLyn Morris loaned me their cottage so I could get away for a few days to write the first draft of this book. And I am especially thankful to my wife Marlene and to my three boys, Josh, Mark, and Nick, for giving me everything that makes life worth living.
No question is more basic than finding out what it means to be a real Christian. You may think you already know the answer, or maybe you’re not sure. Either way, this is where we all need to begin. In order to discover the answer, let’s step back two thousand years and listen in as Jesus has a nighttime conversation with Nicodemus. If you’d like to know what Jesus said to a very religious man, turn the page and let s get started.
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