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Summary: By following Christ’s example we can know that there is a BIG difference between "saying" that we’re a Christian and BEING a Christian.

ONE OF THE GREATEST ABUSES OF TITLES TODAY IS "CHRISTIAN." TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE USING THIS TITLE AS IF IT WERE ONLY A SUMMATION OF THEIR LIVES AS BEING A GOOD, DECENT, CHURCH-GOING, LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN.

CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A "TITLE" TO BE ABUSED OR USED AS LEVERAGE. A CHRISTIAN IS WHAT ONE BECOMES WHEN THEY ACCEPT THE ONE WHO IS THE "CHRIST" IN "CHRIST-IANITY!" THAT "ONE" IS JESUS CHRIST.

ACCEPTING JESUS AS ONE’S LORD AND SAVIOR ALSO MEANS ACCEPTING HIM FOR WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE. WE CAN’T REMAKE HIM INTO WHAT WE WANT HIM TO BE BY KEEPING THE THINGS WE LIKE AND THROWING AWAY THE THINGS WE DON’T LIKE.

IF WE WANT JESUS AS THE ONE WHO FORGIVES OUR SINS, WE MUST ALSO ACCEPT HIM AS THE ONE WHO SAYS, "LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. TURN THE OTHER CHEEK. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU."

IF WE WANT THE JESUS WHO PROMISES TO RELIEVE THE BURDENS OF LIFE, WE MUST ALSO ACCEPT THE JESUS WHO DEMANDS THAT WE FEED THE HUNGRY, CLOTHE THE NAKED, CARE FOR THE POOR AND LONELY, AND VISIT THE PRISONER.

IF WE WANT THE JESUS WHO, WITH POWER AND CONVICTION, CONFRONTS THE EVIL OF THE DEMONIAC AND THE HYPOCRISY OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADER, WE MUST ALSO ACCEPT THE JESUS WHO TOUCHED THE UNCLEAN AND WEPT WITH THE BROKENHEARTED.

WITH THE PRESSURES MOUNTING FROM OUR PAGAN SOCIETY IT IS FAR TOO EASY TO "GIVE IN" AND TURN JESUS INTO A "POLITICALLY-CORRECT" ENTITY OF GOODNESS WITH WHOM WE ARE MOST COMFORTABLE.

THE KINGDOM OF JESUS COMES THROUGH FORGIVENESS, LOVE, AND WITNESS, NOT THROUGH POWER, POLITICS OR ANY OTHER WORLDLY STRATEGIES OF "POLITICAL-CORRECTNESS."

THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMES AS PEOPLE ACCEPT, IN THEIR HEARTS, THE MESSIAH FOR WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE! ONLY UNTIL WE ARE WILLING TO CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL WE BE SAVED. ONLY THEN, DO WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CLAIM THE NAME OF "CHRISTIAN."

WE CAN’T "CLAIM THE NAME" WITHOUT FIRST "CLAIMING CHRIST." USING THE NAME AS IF IT WERE AN INCLUSIVE TITLE OF ALL OUR WONDERFUL ATTRIBUTES IS BLASPHEMOUS.

CLAIMING TO BE A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT HAVING CHRIST IN OUR LIVES IS AS ABOUT AS SILLY AS STATING THAT WE ARE OF ROYAL LINEAGE BECAUSE WE EAT AT BURGER KING!

SOUNDS SILLY DOESN’T IT? IMAGINE IF WE INCORPORATED THIS SAME TYPE OF THINKING INTO ALL AREAS OF LIFE! THEN WE WOULD BECOME A DOCTOR SIMPLY BY WALKING INTO A HOSPITAL. WE WOULD BECOME OXFORD SCHOLARS SIMPLY BY WALKING INTO A LIBRARY.

IF ALL OF THIS SOUNDS SO ABSURD, THEN WHY DO WE KEEP ON THINKING THAT A PERSON CAN CLAIM TO BE A CHRISTIANS BECAUSE THEY ARE A GOOD PERSON WHO GOES TO CHURCH AND DOES GOOD THINGS? ONLY CHRIST CAN MAKE YOU A CHRISTIAN.

JUST LIKE A BRIDE WHO CANNOT RIGHTFULLY TAKE THE NAME OF HER GROOM UNTIL THEY BECOME ONE THROUGH MARRIAGE, NEITHER CAN WE TAKE THE NAME OF CHRISTIAN UNTIL WE HAVE "MARRIED" INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST AS OUR LORD AND PERSONAL SAVIOR.

THIS IS ONE OF THE KEY IDEAS PAUL IS EXPRESSING IN OUR SCRIPTURE PASSAGE TODAY. THE IDEA THAT, IF WE ARE GOING TO VERBALLY CLAIM OWNERSHIP TO THE DEFINITION OF "CHRISTIAN," THEN WE MUST ALSO REFLECT ITS MEANING BY THE WAY WE LIVE.

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