Summary: Describes a Christian: stands out from society; speaks out for the Saviour; and ings out in their suffering
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
Introduction: 1. A Christian is a person who realizes that he/she is a lost
sinner, recognizes what God has done for them through the lifted Saviour, and then receives by faith Jesus Christ to Christ to be his lasting salvation.
2. One of the most challenging questions people often ask is
"What does it mean to be a Christian?"
One author has said, "the meaning of the word Christian has been reduced to practically nothing." What he was stating is that the word "Christian" has been devalued. The word is used often; however, the Bible records the word only three times in the New Testament.
3. The word "saints" is used (about sixty times), "disciples"
(about thirty times), "believers" (about eighty times) and "brethren" (about 200 hundred times) Though all of these refer to Christians, the word Christian is used far less.
Is this significant? I believe it is. In this message let us confine ourselves to the three times where the word "Christian" occurs and let us also note what a Christian is. Consider the distinguishing characteristics of a Christian. That consideration will shed valuable light upon a misunderstood word.
I. A Christian is one who stands out from society.
The word Christian was coined by the heathen population of Antioch to distinguish the followers of Christ from the worshippers of Caesar. It was
at first a nickname given in derision and was a name given in contempt. The contempt is still prevalent in our age but the name should be worn in honor.
The Christians of Antioch were a new sort of people who had sprung up among the inhabitants of the city. It was difficult to understand these of "The
New Way." The name Christian was given them by those from without. Here was a group of people who do not come under any of their categories; therefore, a new name was needed to describe them. The world of those at Antioch had the same impression about believers which Haman had about the Jews - "Their laws are diverse from all people."
Illustration: There was a little lad who was once marching out of sync with
the rest of the band. Someone inquired as to why and they discovered that he was listening through the use of a set of ear plugs to different music than the rest of the band - he was marching to a different tune.
Why would the people of Antioch call those in "The New Way" Christians? It was because of their evident attachment to the Lord Jesus Christ. The new term "Christians" identified the believers with Christ and Him with them.
How would you describe a man from England? What about a man from
Russia? And what about a man from China? A man from England would be described as an Englishman while a man from Russia would be called a Russian and a man from China would be a Chinese. Each of these men would be so called because they belong to that particular group of people.
Therefore, a Christian is a man that belongs to Christ.
Are you recognized as a Christian? One who belongs to Christ? What manner of people ought we to be who carry the name "Christian?"
What should a Christians character be?
What should a Christians conduct be?
What should a Christians conversation be?
Oh, that it might be said of me,
Surely thy speech betrayeth thee
As a friend of Christ of Galilee.
Those who carry His name should be easily recognized by the holiness of
Are you recognized as a strange person? It is a poor commentary on our
consistency if we can go through life unrecognized as a Christian by those that are without. The eye of an outside observer may be unable to penetrate the secret of the deep tie that unites us to Jesus, but there should be no possibility of the most superficial and hasty glance overlooking the fact that we are His. That should be plain for all to see whether we speak or be silent.
Is it true that your allegiance to Jesus and the supreme authority which He exercises upon you and upon your life cannot be hid. Are you as David said, "a wonder unto many?"
A. A Christian is distinct from other people.
B. A Christian is discussed by other people.
II A Christian is one who speaks out for the Saviour.
In Acts 26:28 the apostle Paul is making his defense before King Agrippa and
Festus the governor acknowledged he was witnessing to them of the power of the Lord Jesus Christ who had so wonderfully changed and satisfied him ever since the met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul observed the kings attentiveness and the anger of Festus. Festus pronounced Paul to be mad, but the king stated "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."