Summary: This sermon seeks to define what a "real Christian" looks like as opposed to the world's definition.
When I was a kid, the Apollo missions were in the news daily. I still remember sitting in front of our little black and white TV watching Neil Armstrong take that first step onto the surface of the moon.
Having watched all of the launches, I remember a saying the astronauts would use, “all systems nominal.”
Nominal is defined as 1. Existing as something in name only: not actual or real, 2. A very small amount.
After I looked up the definition of nominal, it occurred to me that this doesn’t make much sense. However, there is a new phenomenon in America that uses this term that makes perfect sense.
The new catch phrase in Christian circles is “nominal Christian.” Christians existing as something in name only, not actual or real.
In the USA, 70% of the population claim to be Christian, but less than half of that number says that religion is important in their lives.
Having read this statistic got me to wondering; just exactly what is a Christian anyway? If 70% of our Nation is Christian, then there is something seriously wrong with our faith.
And if less than half of that number believe that religion is import in their lives, then are they really Christians?
Well, only God can answer for certain if a person does or doesn’t belong to Him, but that still leaves me with the legitimate question of “how do I define a Christian?”
According to the world, a Christian is anyone who says they are. And for that reason, the definition of a Christian in the eyes of the world is skewed and maligned on a daily basis.
There are all manner of people in the world today who openly live in every imaginable sinful lifestyle who claim to be Christians; thieves, liars, adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, child molesters, etc. etc…
I am not saying that Christians are sinless, but what I am saying is that a true Christian would not willingly and openly continue living a life that God the Father has called sin or an abomination.
So how do we define a Christian? In its essence the term means to be Christ like.
As a Pastor and believer, I define a Christian as one who has savingly believed in Jesus as God’s Son, has repented of their sins, and confessed their faith in Jesus as their savior.
Ro 10:10 Says, “for with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
1Jn 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Now, once this has happened, the new believer is transformed, given a new life, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Now the question is, what are we empowered by the Holy Spirit to do?
Well, according to Col 2:6 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”
So if I have received Jesus I am to walk in Him, what does that involve?
Eph 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
According to Gal 5:19-21, “the works of the flesh are adultery, fornication, lewdness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, contentions, jealousies, wrath, selfishness, dissensions, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness,… and those who PRACTICE such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Elaborate on the meaning of PRACTICE.
Now, right after that list, Gal 5:22-23 gives a list of the fruit of the Spirit, that is, how Christians are supposed to think and act: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
On top of that, Heb 10:25 says we are not to forsake the assembling of our selves together. That means we are to come to Church.
So, if it is no mystery about how Christians are to act and clear that God expects us to come together to worship Him, then why are there so many people in this country living in open rebellion to God’s will, who never darken the door of a Church, but still somehow define themselves as Christians?
Why are there so many “Nominal Christians?”
Well, for many, they were in Church when they were children, but no longer feel Christianity or religion is relevant to their lives.
They have been fed a steady diet of humanism in our schools and universities, from Hollywood, and they have bought into the lie that God isn’t real or doesn’t care what happens in their lives.
But according to Heb 7:25, not only does God care about us, Jesus himself is making intercession for those who have trusted in Him, “ALWAYS!”
You see, many people who call themselves Christians, who went to Church when they were young, never understood fully what it means to “be” a Christian.