People who believe in God usually do so because they reasonably think that the universe and all that is in it shows design and hence a designer. People who believe in a designer frequently refer to Him as God. They argue that if you walk down a street, and look at the houses, you can easily accept that all of them had a builder and a designer and that not one of them came there by chance. Everything on earth (and the human body is one example of this) is far more complex in its design than any house. Then, if you consider the dependency and interdependency inherent on the earth it seems quite reasonable to many people that what we see around us has been designed, and is not a series of chance events.
We cannot say that we have studied all religions. On the face of it, however, they do not appear to be the same at all. Buddhism says there is no god, while Hinduism has thousands of gods. Nevertheless, for the purpose of the question we accept that many people claim that there is a similarity between all religions in that they all seek to encourage people to act in moral, ethical and loving ways. Nevertheless, while we are not students of comparative religion, we do know Christianity and we know that it proceeds upon a belief that God came to earth (as Jesus) and that people executed Him as a criminal. We cannot find that in other religions. Christianity is also the only religion that offers people a Saviour from sin. Further, we understand that most religions proceed on the basis that people will obtain the approval (or disapproval) of God by what they do in their lives. Christianity proceeds on the basis that God Himself has done everything to make us right with Him and forgives us when we repent and believe in Jesus.
People historically and globally have believed in life after death, and many thousands of people who have had near death experiences relate many consistent factors after their bodies have ceased to function. Neither we, nor atheists, can prove life after death (or the absence of it) one way or the other and so it falls back to the matter of faith. We believe Jesus. We think He ought to know. Christians believe there is life after death because Jesus said so. It is the whole point of Him being our Saviour.
There is a question that must be addressed before this one. Why would anyone think they will be admitted to heaven? Perhaps there is a hopeful response in the nature of, “Well, I hope I’m good enough”. But that doesn’t actually help. The awkward question is “Will it still be heaven if I am allowed in?”
Do you hope that you will be miraculously changed upon entering heaven’s gates, and that you will be instantly cured of lying, ignoring God, seeking your own interests, pride, and swearing etc? On what basis could you believe that?
We know of only one way this could happen: it would be to stop and say “I think I need help. I need someone to fix this problem for me. I need forgiveness for what I’ve being doing wrong. I need to get right with God – once and for all, and trust that He will have some way of changing me on the inside”. In short, you need a Saviour. And we don’t know of any other Saviour except Jesus.
According to Jesus, those who put all their trust in Him to save them will find that He is faithful and able to do all that is necessary and all He has promised to do in this regard.
The reality is this: you may already rely on a saviour – yourself. The real question, then, is whether you can do that job. If you think that your life, your good works and your relationship with God are all “good to go”, then you will be your own saviour. If you think that you are on shaky ground, and that your ability to save yourself by your good life is uncertain, you might consider asking Jesus to be your Saviour. So, at the moment, you have a choice of saviours. You could ask Jesus to be your Saviour, or you can rely upon yourself.
The reality is that people become Christians in a variety of different ways. For some, there is a sudden conversion, while for others there is a long period of consideration and inner struggle. Nevertheless, we note that there are some features that seem to be present in all Christians. They are first, a belief in Jesus – that He is God’s Son and the Saviour who paid for our sins. Second, an agreement or understanding that Jesus will be that person’s God and Saviour, and that the person will completely change direction, and belong to Jesus thereafter and eternally. A common way for people to become Christians is by praying a prayer to God like this:
- I admit that I have sinned and need Your forgiveness.
- I realise that unless I am forgiven I can never be Your child and my bias toward sin will make me quite unfit to live in heaven.
- I believe that when Jesus died for me He paid for all my sin and that because He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven He is now able to send His life to be born in me.
- So, I trust Jesus to be my Saviour and now receive Him into my life as my Lord.
- And from now on, You will be my God, and I will belong to You.
The instant result of putting yourself in Jesus’ hands is that
- all your sins are forgiven,
- you become God’s child,
- you receive eternal life as a gift,
- Jesus is your eternal friend and
- God gives you His Holy Spirit (sometimes called Christ in you) to help you live day by day.
People will have to rely on being good enough for heaven. We personally think they will need a Saviour and we know of only one who is God approved – Jesus. We therefore take the view that we should tell as many people as possible about Jesus for their sake.
Sin is an inner bias towards acting or thinking in a way that sabotages the way God designed us to act and think. It results in behaviours which are destructive to ourselves, to our relationships with other people, to the created world, and to our relationship with God. Sin is present in every human being.
It is a big deal for three reasons. First, it is impossible for you to get rid of it, stop it, wash it away or pay for all the damage it does. Second, if you still have that inner, permanent bias in you when you die, you will instantaneously alter the character of heaven and make it just like earth is now. Hence, you must honestly ask yourself how you could be allowed in. And third, sin makes you deaf to God, blind to your eternal dilemma and preoccupied with almost anything that will prevent you from giving consideration to your eternal future.
It is wise to start by acknowledging that this is a bigger problem than you can handle on your own. You need to be concerned, and you therefore need to ask for help. The only power that is greater than your sin is God. so, it would be sensible to ask yourself what He can offer you, in terms of help here. It would be prudent to search in places that use words like rescue, save, Saviour, forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
That raises the question of what the test actually it to get into heaven. If the test is a comparison with others, you might, or might not, do well. What you need to find out, however, is whether that is actually the test. What is your authority for that view? What if the test for heaven – as regards sin – is zero tolerance? (You should be aware, for example, that the word ‘holy’ – which is often used in connection with God – means precisely that – zero tolerance to sin) You therefore might want to give yourself a more rigorous test prior to sitting God’s test. For example, you might run the ruler over your life in terms of your thankfulness to God, prayerfulness, pure thoughts, clean language, envy, pride, putting other people down, shutting God out of your life, telling lies. After testing themselves on that basis, many people start looking for some help.
God has already addressed the problem, but He requires you to trust Him to make it work. His solution was that first He sent His Son, Jesus, to the world. Jesus made it clear that God knows you, and is very concerned about your situation. When Jesus died on a cross, His perfect life was intended by God as a gift you could make to atone for your sins – all of them. In other words, He has already arranged the means by which for all the damage done is fully paid for and fully forgiven. This is a free gift to you. It means that you can be allowed into heaven. This is called the grace of God. The second part of His solution for you is that, having erased all your sin, He is prepared to be “born” into your life – if you want Him. He will then become active in your life and begin to change your bias toward sin into a bias toward Him.
The outworking of receiving Christ’s gift is that you are forgiven, and Christ is able to live in you. Upon passing from this life a transformation is possible, somewhat like a chrysalis. Your flesh, and your sinful bias will drop away, and the life of God which is already born in you rises up in the new heavenly form. It is much like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon. You will change in an instant. However, it requires the life of God to be in place in you before you die.
He asks you to completely trust Him. He has made a way for your escape, but you need to fully trust Him in that. You then should carefully read the answer to the question “How do I become a Christian?”
A church is a place where people who have put their trust in Jesus meet. They come together to encourage and help each other. They meet to learn how the life of Jesus in them can grow and be fully realised.
We believe in Jesus. We believe what He told us.
We actually believe Jesus is the one who is right. We know that all human beings have an amazing ability to misunderstand and get things wrong. We are no exception. However, we do our best to understand and follow what Jesus teaches.
We know and acknowledge with sadness that people have been harmed in churches. We know that this means that some will never come into a church again, and this dismays us. However, there is also a certain practicality that is called for. There have been many actors guilty of sexual impropriety, but that does not seem to stop people going to the movies. And there have been schoolteachers who have behaved in a similarly appalling way, but people still send their children to school. Sadly, the same awful actions occur from time to time in aged care facilities, in professional settings and in child care centres, but people know, at a pragmatic level, that there are also good people doing their best in the movie industry, in schools and in other places where bad things have happened. We all need to be vigilant and determined that criminal minds are given no place to operate in our space. Our church tries as hard as possible to provide a safe environment for children, young people and the elderly. More details about this can be obtained from our senior pastor.
It saddens us greatly to hear of Christians who have been hurt in a church. It is another reminder of how lethal sin is. Hurting seems to be the peculiar propensity of the human race, and it can happen in schools, workplaces, marriages, families, councils and social gatherings. It also happens in churches, though it shouldn’t. To be fair, many people go their whole lives in churches, schools, workplaces etc without suffering any hurts or wounds. Our church does not see itself as a place of perfect people. It is more like a hospital, a place for wounded people in need of healing. We are aware that our own healing often comes when we can bring healing to others. If you decide you would like to come to our church, we suggest that you speak to a pastor who will guide you towards our pastoral care team.
Because that’s life. It’s the way people are. Why are there so many codes of football, so many different brands and types of motor car? Why are there different flowers, and why is every single person unique? The fact is that people like doing church differently. Some like it loud, some quiet. Some like modern, others like traditional. Some like a certain emphasis, while others don’t. Most denominations have arisen from historical concerns which may or may not be relevant today. Baptists took their own direction, historically, because they believed that baptism was for those who believe in Jesus (and not infants), because they believed in freedom of conscience and because they believed a local church should govern itself (rather than being ruled by some higher individual or body). However, we quite happily relate to other Christians who may take a different view on such matters because we share with them a reliance and trust in Jesus.
Nothing you have done wrong in the past will, of itself, disqualify you. The reason for this is that Jesus has paid for all sin – not just some kinds. However, there are some down to earth problems that will disqualify you. If you want to be your own saviour, if you want to keep going your own way, not God’s, if you mock God or if you choose not to be a Christian, then that would mean that the benefits of being a Christian are not available to you. In general, if you choose not to join with God, you will get what you wish for.
The best answer to this question is for you to come along and see. Consider yourself invited. In a typical service we might sing about 6 or 7 contemporary Christians songs to encourage faith, our music time is led by a worship leader and singers, with drums, guitars, piano, and a variety of other instruments. We have an offering that is not obligatory and we have a sermon that lasts for about 25 minutes. We have children in the first 20 minutes of the service and someone gives a talk to them before they go to their own program called Sunday Funday in another part of the building.
Technically, you can. However, many of the avenues that would lead to your growth and your knowing God would thereby be cut off. Why would you do that? It is not recommended.
No. You would be something, but not a Christian.
Technically, you can. However, as the way you can be saved and the information as to how you get to know God stems from the Bible, it would seem to be an inconsistent stance to take. Not believing the Bible frequently leads to a slippery slope taking you back to the place you were in before you became a Christian. However, with patience, a better appreciation of the Bible will soon come. Being teachable, getting good teaching and being regular in your Bible reading is always worthwhile.
You can be, but it is never recommended. The Bible, properly read, supplies the information necessary to nurture your walk with God.
That would depend on that way you live. If you mean that you would like to continue sow your wild oats and basically live like a pagan, you would be in great danger of self-delusion that you are a sincere Christian. There might be very little evidence of God’s life in you at the point you try to enter the Gates of Splendour.
Only with great difficulty. There are usually only two outcomes for secrecy. Either your faith will eventually die, or you will not be able to stop yourself from finding out as much as you can about God.
Our senior pastor is Brandon Chaplin. The Youth Pastor is Sam Thomson. The pastor at our Melrose Park campus is Nona Gregory. The pastor at our Rose Park campus is Sara Walding. Our children’s pastor is Debbie Potter.
Blackwood Hills Baptist Church meets at 72 Coromandel Parade Blackwood on Sundays at 10.00 am and 7.00 pm. The Melrose Park campus (which meets at the Edwardstown Primary School) and the Rose Park campus (which meets at the Rose Park Primary School) meet at 10.30 am.
We usually encourage people to join a small group, of which there are currently about 35 in our church. From there, there may be opportunities in music, teaching, prayer, and a host of other ministries which our pastors would be glad to discuss with you.
Our pastors can arrange for you to get a Bible. If you wish to purchase your own you could visit a Christian bookstore like Koorong which is at 198 Waymouth Street Adelaide.
We recommend Bibles that are easy to read. If you want a good Bible for study purposes, we recommend the New International Version, and if you want a Bible for easy readability, we suggest you look at the Message (which is a paraphrase, not a translation of the Bible).