Summary: A look at what you need to acknowledge about Jesus to be a Christian
If you were to ask most people in Canada, Nova Scotia or Bedford today what religion they are the ultimate answer that you would receive would be “Christian”. That particular answer would in no way reflect a relationship they had or didn’t have with God, nor would it reflect any solid concept of theology or biblical knowledge. All it would mean is that the person you asked did not identify themselves as a Muslim, a Hindu or an Atheist. They are a Christian whatever that means. But what does it mean to be a Christian?
Christian means a Christ Follower or more accurately in the original language it meant “Little Christ.” In Acts 11:26 we are told that it was in the city of Antioch that believers were first called Christians and it would appear that it wasn’t a complimentary term at least when it was first used. In Australia Christians were sometimes called God-botherers and the sentiment was probably the same. “Oh they think they are some kind of Little Christ.” But the name stuck and those who followed Christ became Christians. And it meant something, it meant that you believed certain things and it meant you behaved a certain way. Today being a Christian means absolutely nothing, it means that at some point in your genealogy someone, somewhere, at sometime identified with a Christian Church.
But the reality is that people like that aren’t Christians, they aren’t little Christ’s they are pretenders they are posers. And John spoke to that very issue in the scripture that Angela read earlier. There were people who claimed to be Christians and even claimed to be Christian teachers and yet there were some foundational things that they didn’t believe. And John didn’t mince many words about those people. Listen to verse 7 2 John 7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world. They do not believe that Jesus Christ came to earth in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.
What John is talking about there is what theologians call the Incarnation. Say that with me Incarnation. There you have learned some theology today. According to Wikipedia The doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ is central to the traditional Christian faith as held by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and most Protestants.
Briefly, it is the belief that the Second Person of the Christian Godhead, also known as the Son or the Word, “became flesh” when he was miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. In the Incarnation, the divine nature of the Son was perfectly united with human nature in one divine Person. This person, Jesus Christ, was both “truly God and truly man.” The incarnation is commemorated and celebrated each year at the Feast of the Incarnation, also known as Christmas.
In the early church there were those who believed that Jesus was God but he didn’t actually come as human, he simply assumed human form. What is the difference? If Jesus had of just come as God and assumed a human form, kind of like when Shape-shifters assume human forms in Star Trek, then his life and death was irrelevant. He never experienced what we experience; he never felt hunger or thirst or pain, or temptation. His death was simply a sham and the resurrection was a farce.
But the mystery is that he wasn’t simply God playing the part of man, he was 100% God and 100% man and that is the mystery. He experienced birth and all that went along with it, and birth has to be a traumatic experience, no wonder we block it from our minds. Think about it one moment you’re in a warm, dark comfy, quiet place and the next minute you’re in bright, loud, cold room with all kinds of noise and someone is whacking you on the rear end. Not a great way to begin your day or your life. And Jesus didn’t even have the privilege of being born in a hospital, one minute he was hearing the gentle sound of his mother’s heart and the next minute cows are mooing, chickens are clucking and sheep are baaaing. But it had to happen that way.
And if he had of simply been God playing a part then his death on the cross was nothing more then another scene in the play, no pain, no horror and no fear. The cross would have been just a prop.
The admonition is found in the book of 2 John which is the 24th book of the New Testament. It was written by the Apostle John around A.D. 90. In the original John’s name is not used instead the salutation simply reads “From the Elder”. But remember both 2 and 3 John were personal letters, and the people he was writing to would have known who the “Elder” was. In the same way if I received a letter today that started with the words “To Denn, from the DS” I would know right away it was from our District Superintendent Dr. H.C. Wilson. It wouldn’t have to say from the DS, HC Wilson, that would be redundant. HC Wilson is the DS and the DS is HC Wilson.