What does the Bible say about being a Christian and following Christ?
Being a Christian is much more than giving intellectual assent to an historic fact.
I should know because I was there once myself; after having been baptized as an infant and confirmed at age 13, I only knew about Jesus, as an historical figure, like I knew about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and everybody else I learned about in history.
I was what you could call a Nominal Christian, meaning I was Christian in name only; in fact once I had been confirmed, by my denomination, I stopped going to church because I figured I had already made the club.
This historic Jesus that lived over 2,000 years ago was having no impact on my life today.
I just couldn’t relate to an historic Jesus and the miracles He did, all those many years ago, none of which was helping me today in the problems that were confronting me in my life.
That’s why Christianity is NOT a religion, it’s rather about our having a living (personal) relationship with a living Savior; and this is how it starts for ALL of us – we must be born-again.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Jesus and a religious leader
3 1-2 One night Nicodemus, a leading Jew and a Pharisee, came to see Jesus.
“Master,” he began, “we realise that you are a teacher who has come from God.
Obviously no one could show the signs that you show unless God were with him.”
3 “Believe me,” returned Jesus, “a man cannot even see the kingdom of God without being born again.”
4 “And how can a man who’s getting old possibly be born?” replied Nicodemus. “How can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?”
5-8 “I assure you,” said Jesus, “that unless a man is born from water and from spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit: you must not be surprised that I told you that all of you must be born again.
The wind blows where it likes, you can hear the sound of it but you have no idea where it comes from and where it goes. Nor can you tell how a man is born by the wind of the Spirit.”
9 “How on earth can things like this happen?” replied Nicodemus.
10-21 “So you are a teacher of Israel,” said Jesus, “and you do not recognise such things?
I assure you that we are talking about something we really know and we are witnessing to something we have actually observed, yet men like you will not accept our evidence.
Yet if I have spoken to you about things which happen on this earth and you will not believe me, what chance is there that you will believe me if I tell you about what happens in Heaven?
No one has ever been up to Heaven except the Son of Man who came down from Heaven.
The Son of Man must be lifted above the heads of men—as Moses lifted up that serpent in the desert—so that any man who believes in him may have eternal life.
FOR GOD LOVED THE WORLD SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, SO THAT EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT BE LOST, BUT SHOULD HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him.
Any man who believes in him is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because he will not believe in the character of God’s only Son.
This is the judgment—that light has entered the world and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds are evil.
Anybody who does wrong hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear his deeds may be exposed. But anybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God.”
Wuest – The New Testament: An Expanded Translation
28 And we know with an absolute knowledge that for those who are loving God, all things are working together resulting in good, for those who are divinely-summoned ones according to His purpose.
29 Because, those whom He foreordained He also marked out beforehand as those who were to be conformed to the derived image of His Son, with the result that He is firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover, those whom He thus marked out beforehand, these He also summoned. And those whom He summoned, these He also justified.
Moreover, those whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things?
In view of the fact that God is on our behalf, who could be against us?
32 Indeed, He who His own Son did not spare, but on behalf of us all delivered Him up, how is it possible that He shall not with Him in grace give us all things?
33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s chosen-out ones?
God, the One who justifies?
34 Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus, the One who died, yes, rather, who has been raised, who is on the right hand of God, who also is constantly interceding on our behalf?
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?
36 Even as it stands written, For your sake we are being put to death all the day long.
We were accounted as sheep destined for slaughter. 37 But in these things, all of them, we are coming off constantly with more than the victory through the One who loved us.
38 For I have come through a process of persuasion to the settled conclusion that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things about to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the LOVE of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
We have seen God’s mercy and wisdom: how shall we respond?
1-2 With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him.
Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Wuest – The New Testament: An Expanded Translation
19 Or do you not know that your body is an inner sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you were purchased at a price. Now therefore, glorify God in your body.
John 14:15; 23
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
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.
Build on the Rock
46“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
1 John 2:4-6
Living Bible (TLB)
4 Someone may say, “I am a Christian; I am on my way to heaven; I belong to Christ.” But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar.
5 But those who do what Christ tells them to will learn to love God more and more.
That is the way to know whether or not you are a Christian. 6 Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did.
Jesus speaking: “My Kingdom is about changing into good what the devil meant for evil; and changing you to be more like Me.”
Having been born-again, Jesus’ promise is that He will be with us ALWAYS…
by Sarah Young
FIND ME in the midst of the maelstrom.
Sometimes events whirl around you so quickly that they become a blur.
Whisper My Name in recognition that I am still with you.
Without skipping a beat in the activities that occupy you, you find strength and
Peace through praying My Name.
Later, when the happenings have run their course, you can talk with Me more fully.
Accept each day just as it comes to you. Do not waste your time and energy wishing for a different set of circumstances.
Instead, trust Me enough to yield to My design and purposes.
Remember that nothing can separate you from My loving Presence; you are Mine.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
Come join the Adventure!