Yesterday’s post on What A Christian Is NOT was one of the most popular posts I have written in some time. At the suggestion of one of my readers and friends, I want to follow up with this post on What A Christian IS. I want to make a disclaimer upfront, this post is not about how a Christian is supposed to act nor is it about the charitable things Christians are supposed to do. The definition of who is a Christian varies from religion to religion, group to group. I want to pinpoint in this post what a Christian looks like, acts like and lives like.
The term Christian – Christianos – was given to the followers of Christ. These followers in the New Testament always referred to themselves as disciples and saints. Not until the second century did they accept the title Christian as an honor. It had been given by the residents of Antioch in contempt of their religious beliefs. Greeks worshipped mythical gods and goddesses.
The term Christian – Christianos (Greek) – It meant: a follower of Christ – a slave.
Acts 11:25-26 “So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”
Does being a Christian mean that you are a conservative Republican? Answer – NO!
General thoughts: A Christians doesn’t talk about purity, they live purity. A Christian doesn’t talk about forgiveness, but lives forgiveness to friend and foe. A Christian doesn’t talk about love, but they live love to those who least deserve it. A Christian doesn’t talk about humility, but lives humility that people have never seen.
What makes a Christian a Christian? As I was growing up in church we always referred to someone who is a Christian as someone who is someone who is “saved.” But the term Christian can only be found in the Bible 3 times. The term “believer” is used 80 times. The word “saint” is found 60 times. The word “disciple” is found 30 times. But the word Christian is only found 3 times. However the three times that this word is found can tell us a lot about a real Christian is.
THE FIRST THING ABOUT A CHRISTIAN IS THAT THEY ARE A BELIEVER.
What they believe is God and His word. 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!
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 FOLLOWS.
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!
Don’t go to church thinking you are following Jesus and just leave Him at church! Following Him means to spend time with Him and learn of Him. You have to do this even on Monday and Friday night! Following Him means you are His and He is yours! Christians follow Jesus.
THE THIRD THING THAT MAKES A CHRISTIAN IS PROBABLY THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD AREAS OF ALL THREE. A CHRISTIAN NOT ONLY IS A BELIEVER, AND A FOLLOWER, BUT HE IS A DISCIPLE!
The word disciple means one who is disciplined. We don’t stop at learning more about Jesus…but we learn to be LIKE Jesus!
John 13:35 esv, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Listen, people watch every move you make Christian. They want to see if you are a Christian. They judge your life based from your fruits. If you don’t show love and kindness then you are judged by the world, and by God too really, as not being a Christian.
The problem is we are NOT perfect! But being perfect is not what being disciplined means! It means only that we try to be better today than we were yesterday. We try to be as God wants. It doesn’t mean we will always succeed in our efforts though.
This world is full of false Christians. It is also full of people who think they have to be perfect in order to be a Christian. But God called you to follow Him and to simply make an effort to do the things He wants, or to not do the things He doesn’t. He doesn’t want you to be some “holier than thou” hypocrite! He just wants you to try. That’s what being a disciple is. It is being disciplined enough to try to do right. Just to try!
It is not about going to church. It is not about saying a magical prayer. It is not about putting money in the plate.
Zaccaheus – Today salvation has come to this house. Luke 19
Woman caught in adultery – Go and sin no more
Rich young ruler – Kept the commandments, but was told, “go sell all that you have and follow me.” Matt 19
Paralytic brought to Jesus – Take heart, your sins are forgiven. Matt 9:2
Matthew the tax collector – Come follow me
The man possesses with 1,000 demons – Go declare what God has done for you
Blind man in John 9 – Do you believe in the Son of Man who has healed you? Lord, I believe!
If you want to know what a Christian is, it is someone who believes Jesus died for them and has decided to follow Him by having a personal relationship with Him by learning of Him and spending time with Him. Then a Christian is someone who disciplines themselves by trying to be more like Jesus whom they know personally. They are not perfect but they press on to be more like Jesus. They follow the perfect one. That’s what a Christian is.
Will you be a Christian? Will you believe that the conviction you feel in your heart is from God? Just accept that Jesus gave all for you. Chose to follow Him now. Choose to live with your loving Father!
I believe the time has come that we need to take on the term or title “A Believer and Follower of Jesus.”