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What is a Christian?

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What is a Christian 1?

Utawala Baptist Church

13-05-2007

Acts 11:25-26

 

Scripture Reading Acts 11:25-26

 

In verse 26 we read “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

 

The time was about 43AD approximately 10 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.

 

            The word Christian is misunderstood and misused today.

 

            Few people really know what a Christian is.

 

            People think they can call themselves Christians if!

 

                        They belong to a church.

 

                        They go to church on Christmas and Easter.

 

                        They know a little about Jesus and do believe in Him.

 

                                    But be careful!

 

                                                James 2:19-20

 

YOU CAN NOT PLAY CHRISTIAN BY CLAIMING A BELIEF IN CHRISTIANITY!

 

            Christians come under attack!

 

                        Sometimes we don’t fit the molds that people try and put us in!

 

                        More often than not people think Christians should be perfect!

 

                                    Of course based on their definition of perfect

 

                                    Not the Biblical example of perfection!

 

                                    When a Christian fails and falls!

 

                                    The world often says that person was a Christian!

 

                                    They should have been perfect!

 

REMEMBER JESUS WAS THE ONLY PERFECT MAN TO EVER STEP ON EARTH!!

 

 

Today I want to look at the word Christian and see what it really means!

 

           

By definition a Christian is a follower or a disciple of Christ.

 

            No one wants to follow someone they do not believe in so a Christi9an is a believer, a follower, and a disciple!

 

We will look at three qualities of being a Christian today!

 

1.      A Christian is a believer!

2.      A Christian is not only a believer but also a follower!

3.      A Christian is not only a believer and a follower but also a disciple!

 

 

1. A Christian is a believer!

 

            A Christian believes in God and His word!

 

                        Hebrews 11:6

 

                        For a Christian there is no debate as to if there is a God!

 

                        The Bible nowhere argues for the existence of God

 

                                    Genesis 1:1

 

                        There is simply too much evidence that God is real and exists!

 

                                    Romans 1:20

 

                        We see that people have no excuse for not knowing God!

 

            We believe God created man to be like Him.  

           

                        Genesis 1:26-27

 

                        But man turned his back on God!

 

                                    Genesis 3:6-8

 

                        Our sins needed justice for them to be forgiven.

 

                        That justice had to be a perfect sacrifice!

 

                        JESUS WAS THAT PERFECT SACRIFICE!

 

                        HE, JESUS died on the cross to pay for our sins!

 

                        So we could come to God again and live!

            WHAT WE BELIEVE!

 

Whoever believes in what Jesus has done and accepts HIM as Lord and Savior will be saved.

 

SAVED FROM WHAT?

 

            From the wrath and eternal separation from God!

 

                        John 3:16

 

These are the things a Christian believes!

 

We believe it because we know in our hearts it is true!

 

God has caused us to know it by the conviction we feel in our hearts!

 

                        This conviction is caused by the Holy Spirit!

 

THIS BELIEF IS WHAT CAUSES US TO TURN TO JESUS AND MAKE HIM THE LORD OF OUR LIVES!

           

                         

2. A Christian is not only a believer but also a follower!

 

A Christian follows Jesus as instructed in Mark 8:34-35 where we are given

our “marching orders”!

 

            Mark 8:34-35

 

We are to lay our lives down

           

            To follow Jesus is to have a personal relationship with HIM!

 

            NOT JUST A SUNDAY THING!

           

            Everywhere we go Jesus is there!

           

                        Wherever we go Jesus is there already!

 

                         But we must take HIM in our hearts!

 

            Going to church on Sunday because Jesus is there IS NOT following Jesus!

 

                        We need to have Jesus in our homes!

 

                        At our place of work

 

At school

We need Jesus everywhere we are!

 

But most of all we need HIM in our hearts!

 

            We need to spend time with HIM and be discipled by HIM!

 

            TRUE CHRISTIANS FOLLOW JESUS!

           

4.                  A Christian is not only a believer and a follower but also a disciple!

 

This is most likely the most misunderstood and under used of the three points we are looking at!

 

The word disciple means one who is disciplined.

 

            Hebrews 12:11

 

As we grow in our Christian life we don’t stop learning more about Jesus!

 

We learn to be more like HIM!

 

A Christian should strive to do what Christ wants.

 

As Christians we are not only to learn from God’s word how we should

Act, but we need to attempt to BE IT!

 

We need to act upon God’s Word, apply it to our lives!

 

This does not mean that a real Christian is perfect.

 

            The Bible certainly tells us we are not!

 

            A Christian will fall time and again!

 

                        But we are to pick ourselves up with God’s help.

 

                        And try to do better!

 

PEOPLE WATCH EVERY MOVE WE MAKE AS CHRISTIANS

 

            They want to see if we measure up to their idea of a Christian.

 

            They judge our life based on our words and actions.

 

If we act like the world around us soon it becomes OK in our minds to do those worldly things.

 

This happens because we are not perfect.

 

            Being perfect is not what discipline means.

IT ONLY MEANS WE TRY TO BE BETTER TODAY THEN WE WERE YESTERDAY!

 

WE TRY TO BE AS GOD WANTS US TO BE!

 

Do we discipline our children because we want them to be perfect?

 

NO

 

We discipline our children because we want them to be better than they are presently acting!

 

WE WANT TO MAKE THEM BETTER!

 

WE KNOW THEY WILL NEVER BE PERFECT!

 

We want them to continue to improve become better and better!

 

That is how God is with us!

 

            Phil 4:13

 

Our world is full of false Christians!

 

People who claim to be Christians but do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

 

People who think they need to be perfect to be a Christian.

 

As Christians God has called us to follow Him and make an effort to do the things HE wants and not to do the things HE doesn’t want us to do.

 

HE JUST WANTS YOU TO TRY!

 

            Being a disciple is being disciplined enough to try and do what is right.

 

The best way to discipline your self in the ways of Jesus is to read the Bible.

 

A man by the name of Howard Hendricks once said, “Dusty Bibles always lead to dirty lives. In fact, you are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and the world is squeezing you into its mold.”

 

If we are going to be more like Christ we have to get into our Bibles and find out more about him and his life.

 

The things we have talked about today need to be done in order!

 

            Matt 4:18-20

 

These men apparently believed in Jesus and who HE was or they would not left everything and followed HIM.

 

            Then as they followed Jesus he taught and trained them.

 

We see we need to be believers before we can follow and follow before we can be taught!

 

So a Christian is someone who believes Jesus died for them on the cross for their sins and because of their faith they decide to follow him by having a personal relationship with him.

 

They accomplish this by learning about him, spending time with him and trying to be more like him.

 

They know they are not perfect but they try to be more like him.

 

They follow the perfect one!

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