Summary: The world wants to call anyone that stands for Christ judgmental, but there are signs as believers that should be evident.
Earmarks of a Christian
This morning I want to talk to you about being a Christian.
That word has been abused and used in so many circles that most people do not have a working definition of what it means to be a Christian.
Usually, first response is getting out a list of things that they used to do, but they don’t do anymore.
The second list is things I know Jesus is working on in me and one day they will be gone too.
To be called a Christian in the early church was not a compliment. With that came persecution, dis-ownership by family members, up to and including death.
Apostles Paul before his conversion sat by watching a group of good Jews stone Steven a Christian. He thought God would actually be glad that he did it.
Early Christians wore their faith as a badge of honor even though it would end up costing them their lives.
Early Christians were different! They did not act like everyone else. But it was a lot more just behavior or a list of things that Jesus has taken.
If you ever been convicted of a habit, or something that God wanted to do in your life, you soon realize that it is more than behavior, because you had good intention yet you struggle. You get victory on one thing, only to find new struggles are right behind.
What makes a Christian different?
We know it is more than behavior, following a certain set of rules, or belonging to a particular group.
Becoming a Christian involves something far deeper that changes a person on the inside.
Getting rid of things that destroy is a good thing, but God makes changes on the inside, and then we see outward what he is doing and what He has done.
Let’s make this as simple as possible
Because of the fall of man, blame Adam and Eve if you want.
We were born sinners by nature.
We sin because we are sinners.
In the physical sense, we are without hope, because we cannot save ourselves.
We cannot earn Salvation, we cannot be physically born into the family of God.
Because God has provided hope for sinners, and His name is Jesus, spiritually, we have a redeemer.
Spiritually, we can be born into the family of God.
They call that a rebirth, born again, regeneration. Jesus says “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Spiritual rebirth, the old nature that cannot know God is eradicated and we take on the character of God because God now dwells inside of us.
God changing us from the inside out rather than the outside in.
That is why some can look good on the outside but inside they are spiritually dead.
It is why being a good person is not enough.
Sin disqualifies us and without Jesus we have no redemption.
So called Christians today have compromised and water down the Christian experience to what man does instead of what God does inside of us.
We do not have special privileges because your parents are Christians or because you go to a hip church.
You are Christian because of what God has done and is doing in you and by having a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God actively working in your life.