Summary: Jesus will never die again; He’ll live forever. This is the power that’s inside a true follower of Christ. It’s a real power to change your life.
Superbowl Sunday is an unofficial American holiday. We are so glad you joined us for our celebration of Tailgate Sunday this morning – welcome! Football is such a big influence on many of our lives, especially here in Texas and we are glad to celebrate with you on Tailgate Sunday. After our service, you’ll see a lot of people “tailgating” in our hallways. These are our Sunday morning Bible study groups hosting the tailgates. Please stop by and grab a snack as we would love to meet you. We have a gift for you in our Encourager’s Room if you are a guest with us as well and we hope you’ll stop by there after our service.
For the next few moments, I want you to move you away from football and the Super Bowl. How Do I Know if I’m a Christian? Have you ever given your faith much thought? For many people, maybe even most people, you’ve not given your faith status any more thought than you have your what’s in your freezer. I invite you to ask yourself this question: How Do I Know if I’m a Christian?
Find the book of Colossians with me. As you are finding Colossians, allow me to address three myths that camouflage the real essence of true Christianity. First, being a Christian is not about your affiliation to a political party. Political parties change and morph through the years. This generation’s values party is the next generation’s progressive party. Christianity cannot fit neatly into any one group’s political agenda.
Second, many people think they are automatically a Christian if their parents were Christians. This is pervasive myth circling around many Americans. My parents were believers therefore I am a believer. Perhaps your parents brought you to church as an infant and they dedicated you or even baptized you. Many people mistake this expression of dedication from their parents as proof they are a Christian. Growing up in church may say more about your parents’ faith than your faith. Your parents dedicating you as an infant is a sign they loved the Lord. It says very little about your faith.
Here's the third myth, being a Christian is not about your nationality or even your culture. Christianity isn’t about being an American or even Western civilization. Christianity is not flag-waving of any one nation. I love my nation and am proud of my father who was a Vietnam veteran but Christianity is not about patriotism. Get this… throughout history, the “hot spot” of Christianity has changed. Let me say that a different way. If you drop into any one century and map out the highest concentration of where Christians are located, you will find Christians all over the place. Christianity’s geographic center is always moving. The original center of Christianity was Jerusalem, but soon others embraced Christianity. Then Christianity’s new center was Alexandria, in North Africa, and then later it was Rome. Today, Christianity’s center is moving from North America to Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Stop and think of three major religions and their respective geographic centers for a minute. Compare what I’ve just told you to the world’s other three major religious. Islam started in Arabia, at Mecca. Today, Islam is still largely concentrated right around there. Buddhism started in the Far East, and that’s still the highest concentration of people professing Buddhism. Lastly, Hinduism began in India and you’ll find the highest concentration of Hindus are still in India. Christians are all over the place through the centuries and our center of concentration changes from century to century. This tells you that Christianity is not about culture. Christianity isn’t about Western culture or Eastern culture. Christianity isn’t about a political party or even being an American. Being a Christian is something altogether different.
When you find Colossians, you are reading a really early letter written from a celebrity Christian of the day to a group of Christians. The Colossians were people from the town of Colossae, which is modern day Turkey. I’ve selected this passage because we will look at this book/letter in greater detail in the weeks to come and I want to introduce it here to us this morning.
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit” (Colossians 1:3-8).