What does it mean to be a Christian?
Listen to these Words of Jesus:
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
I’ve included another excellent devotional message, by David Wilkerson (see below), about the Love of the Father.
However before you read it, I want to make the following point.
There are a good many people today, who are good intentioned and religious people, who have been raised in a denominational atmosphere, Protestant or Catholic, it makes no difference, where they have been taught that being a Christian is synonymous with being a member of their particular denomination.
I know this to be true, because I was once such person myself at one time.
In the denomination that I was raised in, in my youth, I was baptized as an infant; and I received my First Communion at age 13. After which, I stopped attending church.
To me, with my understanding of what Christianity was, according to the way I had been taught, or at least led to believe, I had fulfilled the necessary requirements; howbeit, I never once was told I should read a Bible; and nor had I ever heard the terminology being “Born-again,” or “Being Saved.” In all my time in Sunday School, all that I heard were stories from the Bible, that happened over 2000 years ago, that I couldn’t relate to; and I was taught the church dogma of the denomination I belonged to.
The fact was however, I only knew about Jesus Christ much as I knew about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, or any other figure of history, that I had been taught about in school; but I never actually knew these people personally. How could I, they were all dead.
Nor had I ever had any sort of relationship with them either; and such was my faith in God, and in Jesus Christ. It was all filtered through what I had been taught in my particular denomination; and my own personally opinions and beliefs.
However as we read the above two scriptures, and learn what Jesus has to say on this very important subject, it quickly becomes very obvious, that He has a very different definition of what it means to be a Christian, or follower of Christ.
My point is, are we going to base what it means to be a Christian on Church doctrine, or on Scripture, on what the Bible says; or worse, are we going to merely base our whole eternal future on personal opinions and beliefs, on how we feel?
Entry into eternity, in to God’s presence happens (according to what the Bible says) only one way, and that is through Jesus Christ!
Listen to this conversation which Jesus had with Nicodemus:
John 3:1-21; 36
The New Birth
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can
a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.[a]
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[b] have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Let us not stop there, but also check what Jesus had to say here:
The Tree and Its Fruit
43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
Building on a Solid Foundation
46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?
47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
What God is after from each of us is NOT a dating relationship, where we can come and go as we please and life is all about our doing our thing!
This is not Christianity as the Bible teaches it, and if you want to believe otherwise, and that you are going to go to heaven based on your opinions, or denominational beliefs, regardless of whether those opinions and beliefs agree with God’s Word, then you are sadly mistaken.
As evidence of the truth of what I am saying, listen to what Jesus says here:
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.‘
Building on a Solid Foundation
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
Are you starting to get the picture? As I understand these words, spoken by the Master, what most people call Christianity is leading them to a dead end and a the inevitability of spending an eternity without God!
I must say also, based upon testimonies and accounts that I have heard from people who have visited hell, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!
Listen to this account, that was given by Jesus himself, and see what I’m talking about:
Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham.[a] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went to the place of the dead.[b] There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.'”
Are you starting to get the picture yet?
Christianity is all about our having INTIMATE relationship with God, and our honoring, keeping, and obeying His Word (as found in the Holy Bible).
For those people out there who are of the mistaken opinion that they are alright with God merely because they have an opinion or belief system that you have developed, or that was taught you in your particular denomination, unless that belief system agrees with what Jesus has already laid out in the Scriptures, then they are very sadly mistaken. Selah
For more information on how to get on God’s path, please check this website out: http://needhim.org/.
Now before I conclude, please allow me to leave you with these words of wisdom, taken from the Book of Proverbs:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
JESUS CHRIST… DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT HIM!
From: DAVID WILKERSON TODAY [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, June 04, 2010 12:02 AM
Subject: THE LOVE OF THE FATHER
THE LOVE OF THE FATHER
by David Wilkerson | June 4, 2010
I wonder how many of God’s people today can sincerely cry out to our blessed Lord, “Glorify me with thyself! Bring me into oneness. I yearn to be closer, more intimate. Master, it is you that I want. More than signs or wonders, I must have your presence!”
Hear his exalted plea: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
The glory Jesus is talking about has to do with a very intimate kind of love—a love that permits no distance or separation from the object of its affection. It desires a complete oneness, an eternal union. This divine love between our Lord and the Father was so all-important to him, he eagerly longed for the day all his children could behold it with their own eyes.
Glory be to the hallowed name of Jesus Christ for such a glorious thought! Christ is so overjoyed with the glory of his intimate relationship with his Father, he yearns to bring all God’s children to heaven to behold it.
Actually, our Lord was praying, “Father, they must see this glorious love we have. They must see for themselves how fully you give yourself to me. I want them to know how greatly I am loved—from before the world was created.”
Won’t that be something when we, the redeemed, are brought into God’s great banquet hall, to the heavenly feast, and are permitted to behold the love of the Father for his dear Son and our blessed Savior?
I see on that glorious day our Lord’s prayer answered, when he looks to his blood-purchased children and joyfully proclaims, “See, children, is it not so? Did I not tell you the truth? Does he not love me so? Have you ever beheld such great love? Is it not truly perfect love? You now see my glory, my Father’s love for me and my love for him.”
Do you not see, saints of God, that beholding the glory of Christ on that day will be the revealing to us of God’s love for his Son? What a joy to know we serve a Savior who is loved. And is it not terrifying to contemplate that Lucifer cut himself off from such glory? He is without love. He has no father.
Surely, this was his greatest loss. It is the great loss of all Satan’s children, to exist without a witness or sense of a heavenly Father’s love. In contrast, God’s children are embraced in oneness with Jesus while still on earth. God loves us as he loves his own Son. This truth ought to make us come into rest.