Summary: The term Christian is often used loosely my many different people. This sermon discusses the traits of "true" Christians.
I was reading a great book the other day that gave me the inspiration for this sermon. It discussed ways of growing as a Christian. It really opened my eyes to how ambiguously some people viewed the question, "What is a Christian?"
This is a question that has been asked by many people, and believe it or not, there are some people that regularly attend church and boldly say they are Christians, but when ask to explain what signifies a Christian or why they are Christians, many cannot give a clear answer.
I guess the first step in answering this question is to discuss what a Christian is not! There are many mistaken notions about what constitutes a Christian. People have come to use various things to classify them as a Christian. Some people use the type of raising they received from their families. Some people think that just because they follow the Golden Rule they are Christians. Listed below are some common reasons people THINK they are Christians.
1. Some people think they are Christians because they have joined a church.
They may have been eight or nine years old or eighteen or nineteen years old when they were baptized. This does not prove they are Christians. If they do these things and still not follow God’s Word or live according to His Word, they are not Christians. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that the act of baptism is not some proof of being a Christian. It is and it isn’t. Baptism, to me, is an outward declaration of an inward change. As I stated above, you still have to strive to be like Jesus everyday!
2. Some people think they are Christians because they try to live at a certain moral height.
The scripture tells us to strive to be perfect. There are some people who think that just because they try to live by the Golden Rule or follow the Ten Commandments, they are Christians. The only problem here is that we are all sinner by nature and, as stated by the Bible, we will always fall short of perfection. This is why we need Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
3. Some people think they are Christians because they “feel” that they are saved.
Many true Christians have this feeling that is out of this world. They know that God has freed their soul, but the question is does this feeling constitute being a Christian. I can tell you one thing, emotions are a fleeting thing. There are times when I feel like I am on top of the world and then there are times when I feel like I don’t have a friend in the world. Just because I don’t “feel” saved or happy all the time does not mean that I am not a Christian. They reason often causes people to mask their feelings and hinder them from growing.
Now that I have discussed some common reasons that people use to often classify themselves as Christians, I want to talk about what REALLY constitutes a Christian. Let’s take a look at them.
1. A Christian is a person who has come to himself.
This statement basically means that a Christian is a person that realizes that he is a sinner. In the story of the prodigal son, the scripture says that he “came to himself” and decided to go back to his father and offer himself as a hired servant. When he left home, he left home with a “give me” attitude and when he returned to him father he came back with a “make me” attitude. A true Christian is willing to repent or willing to accept the conclusion that he has failed and the only way he can get out of the fallen state that he is in is through Christ Jesus. He admits that God’s Word is right and that the only way he can succeed is to abdicate the throne of his heart and give it to Jesus. This leads us to the second trait of a true Christian.