Jane was a very brilliant, committed, and diligent Baptist Student Fellowship (BSF)member. One day during the fellowship, she was asked to narrate the story of how BSF started in her church. But she could not answer the question. Other members too could not narrate how BSF started in their churches. Similarly, many Christians today do not know the story of how the Christian faith began and spread, despite the severe persecution of Christians in the first and third centuries before it eventually became the official religion of the Roman Empire. In this lesson, we will look at how the Christian faith began and how we can uphold the faith we profess in Christ.

The Christian faith is a way of life and not a religion, The Christian faith is the belief in Jesus Christ as the Saviour and Lord. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and confesses Him as Saviour and Lord is a Christian, As a way of life, believers pattern their lives after Christ through His teachings. The topics for the month focus on the beginning and spread of the Christian faith, the goals and practices of the Christian faith, as well as the Christian faith being the only way to God. Pay attention to the teachings so that you will be enlightened and inspired to cherish the faith we have in Christ.

There was a serious drought in South Africa some years ago and the churches decided to pray that rain should fall. One Sunday morning, the sun was shining severely so a child carried her mother’s umbrella. When her mother saw her, she asked her why she was carrying an umbrella when there was no sign of rain. She replied that the pastor had asked them to pray for rain to fall and she believed that by the time they would be coming back from the church, it would have started raining. Her mother laughed at her. Not too long from that time, the rain started falling as they were returning home.

The Beginning and Spread of the Christian Faith

The beginning of the Christian faith unfolds naturally through time. It is understood to have started with Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was born more than two thousand years ago during the first century C.E. At that time, Jesus Christ of Nazareth embarked on a teaching ministry in which He preached about the coming of the kingdom of God as stated in the Scriptures. Jesus gathered a group of twelve disciples as well as many other followers with whom He ministered to the people including, children.

Meanwhile, Jesus was arrested and executed by the Roman government. After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, believers were called Christians (Acts 11:26). Several generations later, Jesus’ teachings as well as the letters of the apostles were eventually compiled into the Scriptures. Christians in the first and second centuries worshipped in their houses where they gathered in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, This Christian community shared their bread in gladness and generosity of heart. (Acis2:46)

Appreciating the History of the Christ in Faith and its Spread.

The early Christians experienced many persecutions. Many believers were persecuted and executed for professing their faith in Jesus Christ. However, in 313 C.E., when Constantine, the Roman Emperor became a Christian, he made Christianity the religion of the empire. This brought an end to the persecution of believers.

From then, the Christian faith spread rapidly and many people became Christians willingly, Christianity spread to the Greek and Roman cities of the ancient Mediterranean world. In cities like Ephesus, Philippi, Athens, Corinth, Thessalonica, Rome, and North Africa, believers carried the Christian faith to places where it was not known. Social services such as comforting the sick and the dying, caring for the needy, sharing with others, and teaching and training of the children contributed to the spread of the Christian faith.

How to Uphold the Christian Faith

  1. Understanding the history of Christianity (Psalm 44:1). If Disciples are accurately taught the history of the Christian Faith, it will help them to know how the church has continued to exist throughout history. Despite the Roman persecutions in the first three centuries to the present time, the church has undergone great opposition. Understanding the history will assure the children-disciples that if God could give the church victory then, even now, our victory in Christ is assured.
  2. Accept the Christian faith and share with others: Children should accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and share the same with their friends and classmates
  3. Understand what the Scripture says about the Christian faith and ways to uphold it (Matthew 16:18): It is clear in the Scriptures that God is the builder of the church, and persecutions, evil atrocities, and the gate of hell will not prevail against it. Therefore, no matter the persecution, the Christian faith will continue to prevail.
  4. Prayerful: Prayer is communicating with God, which includes praising God, confessing sins, and interceding for others. Children should continue to pray for the sustenance and keeping of the Christian faith.
  5. We must defend the faith because there are false teachers who are ready to destroy it (Jude 3-4). We must be sure to distinguish true teachings from false teachings. An understanding of the history and the spread of the Christian faith will help believers to uphold the faith. You know that believers were persecuted in the early years of Christianity, yet the Christian faith was spread to places it was not known. Therefore, you must try as much as possible to uphold the Christian faith by sharing it with others and praying for others. Always pray for Christians who are being persecuted today that the Lord will give them peace. Ensure that you tell your friends the story of the Christian faith and lead them to Christ.

The Goals of the Christian Faith

The Christian faith is a way of life patterned after Jesus Christ. The goal of the Christian faith is to enjoy the reality of knowing Christ and His power of resurrection, according to Philippians 3:10. To walk with Him daily in a vibrant relationship, and to grow daily to become like Him. As the relationship with Christ progresses daily, there is the desire to bring more people to know Him, hence increasing the kingdom of God on earth. Other goals of the Christian faith include the following:

  • To help a believer conform to the image of Christ.
  • To make a believer become a person of integrity both in private and public.
  • To make a believer become teachable: You must be humble enough to learn.
  • To make a believer live without fear: We are not created to be afraid but to be bold in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • To teach a believer to always turn to God first not last in times of difficulties in life and in making decisions: Put God first in all your ways, commit your ways to God at the beginning of the day, and end the day with prayer.
  • To make a believer to be devoted to God’s Word for guidance in life.
  • To teach a believer to become obedient to God, parents, leaders, teachers, and elderly ones.

Examples of People Who Displayed Faith in the Bible

The Advanced Oxford Learner’s Dictionary (6″ Edition) defines faith as ‘trust in somebody’s ability or knowledge. Trust that somebody will do what he has promised. ‘Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (NIV). Faith honours God and God honours faith. If you have faith in God, you honour His power and He will prove Himself in your life.

Abel: By faith, he brought God a better offering than Cain did.

Enoch: He was taken up to heaven because of his faith in God.

Noah: In response to God’s instruction, he built an ark to save his family from the flood.

Abraham: When God called him to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, he obeyed, though he did not know where he was going.

Conclusion

The Christian faith is a journey. The journey ends with the second coming of Christ. So, you must continue to run with patience. You should live by faith by doing what God likes and refraining from what He dislikes. When He returns, He will take you to where He has prepared for you. We can see how Christians should practise the Christian faith here.