Summary: With times and opinions changing as fast as they are today, i feel this would be a good time to remind ourselves what the biblical discription of a christian is. We will do this by examining the lifestyle and beliefs of the people first called Christians
What is a Christian?
Acts 11:19-26 (NIV)
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Intro: we live is during some special times don’t we. We live in a time when everything is being questioned. Everything we once understood and clear and simple isn’t so simple anymore. We have a message given to us by and evangelist at camp meeting where he mentioned this. How at one time things were cut and dry and that’s not so anymore
a. There was a time that the good guy always wore white and the bad guy always wore black
b. There was a time when the good guy was good and the bad guy was bad. Now that’s changed. The cop is bad the thief is good
c. There was a time when the good guy won and the bad guy lost
d. Things where simple.
e. Now we don’t even know what marriage is.
f. For thousands of years….literally thousands of years, marriage was man and women. I don’t think there was ever a civilization that believed and accepted same sex marriage.
With that in mind I want to clarify something today.
We are going to talk about what is a Christian. What does the bible tell us a Christian is.
Because even this is in question.
a. We live in a Christian nation don’t we?
b. You would figure we would know.
c. But that’s not so.
d. The term Christian is being applied to some many.
e. Many adopt it.
f. If you ask them what religion are you many would say Christian.
g. But what is a Christian in the biblical sense.
We can our answers in this scripture.
a. It was the first time anyone was given the term Christian.
b. It would be cleanest sense of the word.
c. Here in Antioch they were first call Christians.
d. Who where these people, how did they get the name?
These where people who
I. Believed in a specific God
Acts 3:13 (NIV)
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.
a. A Christian believes in the God of the Bible
i. He isn’t just any god
ii. He is not Allah
iii. He is not the Muslim God
iv. Or a God of our imagination
v. He is Jehovah
vi. He has a name
vii. He has a personality
b. Many people today want to think that just believing in God is ok.
i. As if he is one god in many different forms
ii. This nations was started a as nation under God
iii. But he was Jehovah
iv. The politicians want to paint a picture as if all gods are the same and they are not
c. He does not believe in a God that is some external world force
d. He doesn’t believe in a God that is a figment of his own imagination
i. If he wants to know about God he gets his information from scripture
ii. Not from a gut feeling
iii. Or experience he has had
iv. He believes in the God of the OT
v. The God of Israel
vi. As reveal to us from scripture
1. He is God of mercy
2. He is a God of compassion
3. He is a God of Love
4. But he is also a God of Justice
a. Most want to leave this out
b. They say things like God could never do that
c. Well in scripture he did.
Question: Which God do you believe in?