Summary: The accompanying message to my book which bears the same name. This message reveals the four-stages in the process of becoming a true Christian.
“And they Were Called Christian”
1 Cor 2:`4 / Acts 2, 5, 6, 11/
* As a boy I was in several organizations which promoted by rank. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, & even Royal Ambassadors have different “rank” or “levels” of development. The rank was literally an indication of your commitment, development and even desire to become all you can be.
* What do you think when you hear the word “Christian?” While in this crowd most might come up with “similar” definitions, truth is, most of us believe that when a person receives Jesus Christ as personal Savior—at that moment- the individual becomes a Christian. In fact, we have seen and heard well-meaning Pastors introduce a new convert as the “newest Christian in the house.”
* Yet in today’s world, the different definitions of the word Christian is seemingly as many as there are people.
* As most of you know, my book is entitled “And they were Called Christian.” For those who have purchased and read this small book you know that while I believe a person is saved and secured at the moment of salvation, it is my personal conviction (based on my study of God’s word) that to wear the name Christian takes development and growth.
* Before we get to the teaching, please allow me to give you a little background as to how God developed this in my mind. For over 20 years of church work I was always amazed as to how some people could be so committed, so available, & so passionate for the things of God while other; seems to care less, was only concerned about their personal preferences and wants. Yet, I was only seeing the church from the inister’s side of the pulpit. In 2001 while I was out of vocational ministry, a friend asked me to supply for him. As I began to study for the evening message, God begin to solidify in my mind this concept which had been forming for years. The title of that message was “stages of life.” That message served as the thesis for my book.
1) THE DEFINITION – What does it really mean to be a Christian? Is it simply a “pray the prayer”, be baptized, join the church, attend, and go with the flow? From my earliest training, the definition of Christian has meant “little Christ” or “one like Christ”. More than suggest, I’ll submit that we have almost forgotten the part of our lives that changes.
They were called Christian – Pg 2
a) In order for us to become a like Christ we have to change. He is perfect, we are imperfect, He is righteous, and we are unrighteous. To be a “Christian” is to be like He is and that doesn’t happen in a second. Jesus took 3 years to develop His disciples. And those 3 years were all about learning, changing, & growing.
2) THE CONCEPTION (Our Stages in Life)
a) Lost Person – Every person begins at the same place in their journey. Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we have been estranged from God. The dividing point between us and God is our sin. At one time we walked with God in the cool of the day and was led by His divine hand. Since sin invaded our world we have been both lost and wondering this dark world of sin. In Luke 15, Jesus tells 3 stories which illustrate this lostness. Scripture tells us repeatedly that we have no hope, no possibility of finding God and eternal on our own. The Bible speaks of a way which “seems right” to a man but, it speaks of us walking in darkness, it speaks of us being “dead” in trespasses; for my two cents worth, all this sounds like a person who is lost and cannot find the right way.
* Please notice something; every stage, step, level, part, rank, position, and designation are dependent on my inner self and the change in life which takes place. To be lost is to be seeking the right road, the right path, and not being able to find it alone.
* Without Christ, I am doomed to spend my entire life as a lost person. I do nothing to be lost, it is just the condition which the Bible says is a “natural position.” 1 Cor 2:14 speaks of the “natural man” which is lost.
* One day someone share Jesus’ provision with the lost person, the person prays and receives Christ.
b) The Believer – In Acts 2, after a 10 day prayer meeting, the Holy Spirit fell from Heaven in a powerful way and 3000 people were saved. While it is true that these new converts went by many names (I.E. of the way, brethren, saints, etc), it seems to be that in Acts 5:14 we are given the initial and logical name for a new convert.