Complete project work tiled The Christian Life In The Society: A Case Study Of The Early Believers
Abstract on The Christian Life In The Society: A Case Study Of The Early Believers
This study provides a primer on the basics of Christian life in the society as it relates to the early believers. The history of early Christianity has notable points of resemblance with the modern working class movement. Like the latter, Christianity was originally a movement of oppressed people: it first appeared as the religion of slaves and emancipated slaves, of poor people deprived of all rights, of peoples subjugated or dispersed by Rome. The undeniable power, force, and influence of religion stand out throughout history. However, according to J. Michael Allen and James B. Allen in World History from 1500, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, religion was exceptionally important, because it had a great influence on everything from government to social order and family relationships. Belonging to a church during the apostle’s era was important during this time because it gave believers a sense of belonging, love and support. This was important because it made it much easier to deal with everyday problems and issues. This study tends to showcase the role of Christians in today’s society, reviewing early believers history.
Chapter One of The Christian Life In The Society: A Case Study Of The Early Believers
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
This study centers on the Christian life in our society today in view of the early believers. The Christian life begins with receiving our Lord Jesus Christ, the gift of God’s love and forgiveness by faith. It results in a triple commitment to a person, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a commitment to Him of your intellect, emotions, and will. The Christian life is a personal intimate relationship between an individual and Christ. This life begins in faith according to Ephesians 2:8-9 and can only be lived by faith. Faith is another word for trust according to Hebrews 11:1, “now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. We trust our lives to Christ’s keeping because He has proven Himself trustworthy by His life, His death, His resurrection, and His abiding presence, His unconditional love. The Christian life from onset is meant to be a life lived by faith. It is by faith that we enter into the Christian life and it is by faith that we live it out. Once we begin the Christian life by coming to Christ for forgiveness of sin, we understand that what we seek cannot be obtained by any other means than by faith. We cannot work our way to heaven, because nothing we could ever do would be sufficient. Those who believe they can attain eternal life by keeping rules and regulations, a list of do’s and don’ts deny what the Bible clearly teaches. “But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Galatians 3:11). The Pharisees of Jesus’ day rejected Christ because He told them this very truth that all their righteous deeds were worthless and that only faith in their Messiah would save them.
In Romans 1, Paul says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power that saves us, the gospel being the good news that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. When we enter into the Christian life by faith in this good news, we see our faith grow as we come to know more and more about the God who saved us. The gospel of Christ actually reveals God to us as we live to grow closer to Him each day. Romans 1:17 says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” So part of the Christian life is diligent reading and study of the Word, accompanied by prayer for understanding and wisdom and for a closer, more intimate relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.
The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s (2 Corinthians 5:17). He who loved us and died for us now lives in us, and the life we live is by faith in Him. It means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace. Part of the Christian life is praying to that end.
The Christian life is also supposed to persevere to the end. Hebrews 10:38-39 addresses this issue by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Habukkuk: “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” God is not pleased with one who “draws back” from Him after making a commitment, but those who live by faith will never draw back, because they are kept by the Holy Spirit who assures us that we will continue with Christ until the end (Ephesians 1:13-14). The writer of Hebrews goes on to verify this truth in verse 39: “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” The true believer is one who believes to the end.
So the Christian life is one lived by faith in the God who saved us, empowers us, seals us for heaven, and by whose power we are kept forever. The day-to-day life of faith is one that grows and strengthens as we seek God in His Word and through prayer and as we unite with other Christians whose goal of Christ likeness is similar to our own.
The Christian Life society is a manifestation of the Spirit in the Church. This means, among other things, that CLS does not exist only by the will of a few who decide to associate, but rather because of a special grace of the Spirit which created it so that the Church can grow. In the life of the Church, all Christians receive, discern, and identify the action of the Spirit and because of that we are free to associate and to take initiatives. But a necessary task and duty of the hierarchy is to discern beyond the individual motions and particular circumstances and recognize the more permanent manifestations of the Spirit which weave together a more consistent and unfolding ecclesial design. It can then point to these manifestations as clear possible ways of participating in the life and mission of the Church. For Ignatius, discernment does not end with a reading of one’s own motions and the formulation of one’s own decisions. It must include the ecclesial confirmation.
CLS exists not merely by the will of the members to carry out a common project, or by the will of a charismatic priest in a particular place, time, or circumstance. It exists by the explicit will of the hierarchical Church for the good of the whole Church and its mission. In this sense it is a public not private association of the faithful in the Church. It is an international association, a world community. In it, priests and religious have an approved, genuine way of sharing with the laity. This calls them together beyond any particular group or personal charisma to form a part of an ecclesial trend which does not exist merely as a spontaneous creation but also as part of the Church’s own program. In a Christian community in which by baptism we all participate equally in the mission and are equally called to holiness, the old models of the “states of perfection,” or those which define the apostolate of the laity as the “long arm” of the hierarchical apostolate, or as “collaborators” of religious congregations, do not help much. The fall into disuse of these concepts is a result of are defining and an enriching of the relationship between the laity, the hierarchy, and priests and religious present in the association. Many laypeople may be called to collaborate and even receive a mandate from the hierarchy or a religious congregation, but their vocation and mission cannot be perceived as an extension or a functional and efficient asset of the latter.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In many societies, values have changed significantly during the last three decades. The fear of God is disappearing in view of this, the foundation for morals and for the teaching of morals to the young shifts away from the Word of God. There are pressures to remove mention of God from all aspects of public life. Those who would base morals on the Bible are labeled “fundamentalists,” a label that has acquired a decidedly negative connotation. At the same time, there are pressures for greater tolerance of so-called “alternative life-styles” and individual rights of expression. These changes are reflected in many ways, and they are mirrored in our children and young people. In our schools, the conduct and attitudes of the young reflect the conditions in their homes and in society. Many of the signs that we see in our schools are disturbing. The principles of the world are force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure. In many ways, the lifestyles of today reflect a preoccupation with fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. It is often said that we should not discourage our youth from engaging in such behaviors or lifestyles, but rather teach them how to participate in them in a safe way. This attitude is also reflected in the popular music, reading material, and dress styles of today. The “lust of the eyes” may be termed materialism. This is a covetous itching to own what we see. It is the selfish desire that rises when we see things which we really don’t need, but for which a want develops. It is the longing to possess, the desire to get, the eagerness to acquire. The “pride of life” might be called egotism. This is the desire to enhance one’s own prestige and to push ourselves up. It is the hankering to inflate our own reputations. It is an attempt to get the spotlight shining on ourselves. The “pride of life” is putting on an air of “being somebody” a vain display of who we are perhaps by the way we talk, or how much money we spend in being hospitable, or how we dress. This and many more led to the study, “the Christian life in the society; a case study of the early believers”.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of the study:
- To ascertain the impact of the Christian life on the society.
- To promote Bible literacy in the family, society and our educational system.
- To examine if there is any significant role the early believers’ faith have in the lives of Christians in our society today.
- To encourage the influence of Jesus on art, music, and literature.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Ho: there is no significant impact of the Christian life on the society.
Hi: there a significant impact of the Christian life on the society.
Ho: there is no significant role the early believers’ faith has in the lives of Christians in our society today.
H2: there is a significant role the early believers’ faith has in the lives of Christians in our society today.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The value of Christianity to our laws, our economics, our politics, our arts, our calendar, our holidays, and our moral and cultural priorities are under estimated. None of us in the Christendom today would have been what we are if a handful of Jews nearly two thousand years ago had not believed that they had known a great teacher, seen him crucified, dead, and buried and then rise again. It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of significant importance to the Christendom, as the findings intend to spell out the importance and contributions of the early believers in our Christian lives today. The study will also be beneficial to other religions as the will take advantage of the tremendous benefits of Christ’s salvation to Christians and also extending their hand in fellowship to invite them to join in the faith. The findings will also be of great importance to the academias as the findings will add to the pool of knowledge. And finally the study will be of great importance to students, teachers and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study centers on the Christian life in the society, a case study of the early believers. The researcher encountered some constraint during the period of the study such as;
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
- RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This study employs both the survey and historical research designs. These are suitable and advantageous for assessing large and small populations especially where a small population is to be derived from a large one. According to Ndiyo (2005), the simple percentage method is a non-parametric test used to determine the degree of association or depending between two variables. The simple percentage method is designed to test the significance of the difference between a set of observed frequencies and a set of frequencies expected.
1.8 Population of the study
Population of a study is a group of persons or aggregate items, things the researcher is interested in getting information from for the study the Christian life in the society, a case study of the early believers. A total of 200 Christians were selected randomly from churches in Imo state.
1.9 Sample and sampling procedure
Sample is the set people or items which constitute part of a given population sampling. Due to large size of the target population, the researcher used the Taro Yameni formular to arrived at the sample population of the study.
1.10 Method of data analysis
The data collected was not an end in itself but it served as a means to an end. The end being the use of the required data to understand the various situations it is with a view to making valuable recommendations and contributions. To this end, the data collected has to be analysis for any meaningful interpretation to come out with some results. It is for this reason that the following methods were adopted in the research project for the analysis of the data collected. For a comprehensive analysis of data collected, emphases were laid on the use of absolute numbers frequencies of responses and percentages. Answers to the research questions were provided through the comparison of the percentage of workers response to each statement in the questionnaire related to any specified question being considered.
Frequency in this study refers to the arrangement of responses in order of magnitude or occurrence while percentage refers to the arrangements of the responses in order of their proportion.
The simple percentage method is believed to be straight forward easy to interpret and understand method. The researcher therefore chooses the simple percentage as the method to use. The formula for percentage is shown as.
% = f/N x 100/1
where f = frequency of respondents response
N = Total Number of response of the sample
100 = Consistency in the percentage of respondents for each item contained in questions. Bowley’s (1977).
1.11 Definition of terms
Christian: A Christian is a person who follows or adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. “Christian” derives from the Koine Greek word Christós a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach. While there are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict, they are united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance. The term “Christian” is also used as an adjective to describe anything associated with Christianity, or in a proverbial sense “all that is.
Society: the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.
Christian life: The Christian life is a personal intimate relationship between one and Christ.