Summary: A message on what defines someone as a Christian.
In Acts 11:26 we read at the bottom of the verse these words “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
The word Christian is misunderstood in a lot of ways these days. It seems few really know what a christian really is. People tend to think these days that they can call themselves Christians just because they belong to a church. They believe the idea that if they know about Jesus and what He did then they can “claim Christianity” because, after all, they believe in Him. They forget the verse in James 2:19-20 that said “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” You can’t play christian by claiming a belief in Christianity!
Then there are those who will even attack real Christians because they don’t fit the mold of what people think Christians should be. Which more cases than not people think a christian should be perfect. That too is based from their idea of perfection. Not necessarily from a biblical view on what perfection is.
Well today I want to deal with this word Christian. The subject of this message is “What is a Christian?” Lets find out today exactly what a christian is. If you remember anything from this message it should be these three things. I will go through them one by one, but remember these things. A Christian is first a believer, then a follower, and then a disciple of Jesus Christ.
So a christian is a believer, a follower, and a disciple.
The first thing about a christian is that they are a believer. What they believe is God and His word. Hebrews 11:6 puts it this way “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” There is no debate with a christian as to if there is a God! There simply is too much evidence to a christian that God is real anyway. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,”
As Christians we believe that God created man to be like Him. But man turned his back on God and in doing so death was brought into the world because God is the beginning of life! He did not make man to be destroyed in death! He made him to live eternal in fellowship with Himself! From the beginning in the book of genesis we know this!
But God who loved us made a way through His Son Jesus Christ for us to be brought back to God! Our sins of turning our back on God needed justice to be done. The justice to be done had to be death so in His mercy Jesus took our death! He made a way to pay for our crime and to make us able to come to God again and live.
What we believe is that whosoever believes in what Jesus has done and accepts Him as Lord and Savior will be saved from the wrath of and eternal separation from God according to John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
These are the things a christian believes. We believe it because deep down we KNOW it is true. God has caused us to know it by the conviction that we feel in our hearts. That belief is what causes us to turn to Jesus and make Him Lord of our lives. Like I said earlier, you can believe but if you don’t follow up on what you believe then it is in vain!
Secondly a christian not only believes, but followers. We follow Jesus as He commanded in Mark 8:34-35 “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
We lay our lives down. We consider Jesus to be worth more than what we may want here on earth. To follow Jesus is to have a personal relationship with Him! It isn’t just a Sunday thing! Everywhere we go Jesus is there. We take Him with us! Going to church because Jesus is there isn’t following Jesus! Jesus is at the church, but you should have Jesus at your house, in your car, everyplace you are!