Summary: Let’s talk about those beliefs that should be held by all those who call themselves Christians (Adapted from Bob Tinsky's book, A Christian Is... God's Answer to Man's Question, Introduction and Chapter 1, pgs. 3-21)
A little boy came home from Vacation Bible School one day, ran into the living room, and asked his dad, “What is a Christian?” The dad said, “Son, a Christian is one who has confessed his faith in Jesus Christ. He has repented of his sins and has been baptized. He is kind to his neighbors, never loses his temper, tithes his money and never lies, cheats or exaggerates. A Christian is one who never misses church. He studies his Bible, and he wins souls to Christ. He is longsuffering and kind and patient and prayerful.” After this long definition, the little boy looked at his father and said, “Daddy, have I ever seen one?”
Much confusion in the minds of the average person who is a Christian.
The word “Christian” is only used 3 times in the NT:
1. “For a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Acts 11:26, NIV.
2. “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”” Acts 26:28, NIV.
3. “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:16, NIV.
While the name Christian is alluded to throughout the NT, many other words used to describe the people who became followers of Jesus. Over the next several weeks we will discuss these other words that add so much meaning to “Christian.” Something basic as we go into Fall.
Thesis: A Christian Is... A Believer
We find this term “believers” to describe the followers of Jesus Christ throughout the NT. Just a sampling from the book of Acts:
“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Acts 2:44, NIV.
“All the believers were one in heart and mind.” Acts 4:32, NIV.
“All the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.” Acts 5:12, NIV.
Describing Christians as believers is Biblically correct since this is used around 50 times in NT
To say a person is a believer does not mean that he or she is a Christian
According to article in Washington Post, dated December 12, 2008, 47% of Americans believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, 44% believe in ghosts, 36% believe in witches and astrology; and 25% believe in reincarnation. In same year CNN News surveyed 35,000 Americans and discovered that 70% believe there are many paths to heaven. The shocking statistic is that 57% of those claiming to be bible believing Christians share this view.
Here is a song that I love entitled simply: I Believe- I believe for every drop of rain that falls A flower grows I believe that somewhere in the darkest night A candle glows I believe for everyone who goes astray, someone will come To show the way I believe, I believe I believe above a storm the smallest prayer Can still be heard I believe that someone in the great somewhere Hears every word Every time I hear a new born baby cry, Or touch a leaf or see the sky Then I know why, I believe.
We can see the God of the Bible talked about here. However, we could be Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, New Age Religions and appreciate this song. To say that a Christian is a “believer” requires more than is expressed in the words of this song.
In our modern times to refer to a person as a “believer” may not mean that person is a Christian. People today believe in all kinds of things. The people who are called “believers” in the NT had some specific and definite beliefs about God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Let’s talk about those beliefs that should be held by all those who call themselves Christians. Refuse to giving a creed but these things are essential for true Christians.
1. Christians believe in the God who has revealed himself to us in the Bible.
Most people believe in some kind of God. We believe in more than “someone in the great somewhere.” We believe in the God of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1, NIV. The Bible begins with God. Bible never gives any argument, any defense, any presentation, any discussion concerning the existence of God. The Bible begins with just: “Here He is.”
Without the Bible where do we get our thoughts about God. All peoples have had concepts, thoughts, and ideas about God. Some of them bizarre to our minds. Many got their ideas from stories passed down to them. Their stories and books are unreliable. Notice what the Bible says about itself.
“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21, NIV.